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Suns ‘hope and expect’ that Eric Bledsoe will remain in Phoenix

Jul 22, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

Eric Bledsoe is one of the top remaining free agents still on the market, and his restricted status is likely the reason why.

The Suns have the right to match any offer Bledsoe may receive from another team, and have said on multiple occasions that they intend to do exactly that. But Bledsoe hasn’t agreed to sign an offer sheet anywhere else.

There were teams rumored to be interested (like the Lakers), but no one has pulled the trigger — likely due to Bledsoe looking for too much money at this stage of the proceedings.

The Suns and Bledsoe remain far apart in their negotiations, but team president Lon Babby, speaking Monday at a press conference introducing Isaiah Thomas and Anthony Tolliver, continues to believe that Bledsoe will be back.

From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

“We’ll continue to work as hard as we can within that restricted free agency system established by the collective bargaining agreement,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said Monday. “We continue to hope and expect that he will remain in a Suns uniform.” …

It might require a sign-and-trade for Bledsoe to go elsewhere but the Suns’ intent is to bring him back. Bledsoe has a $3.7 million qualifying offer that he could choose to play for next season and then become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The process has been complicated by rumored sign-and-trade talks that the Suns say are untrue. Some of it may be one-way interest from other teams. Some of the rumors are not even allowed under CBA rules.

The Suns don’t want to go a full five years on a new deal with Bledsoe, and their offer of four and $48 million seems fair for a player with his skill set who has had two of his four NBA seasons limited due to injury.

And unfortunately for Bledsoe, he doesn’t have a lot of options here.

Teams have spent their cap space for the most part, and would need to engage the Suns in a sign-and-trade to acquire Bledsoe for the kind of money he’s seeking — something that Phoenix has been unwilling to do thus far. If Bledsoe really isn’t going to accept the four-year offer on the table, his only choice would be to play out next year for the small qualifying offer, and pursue max money as an unrestricted free agent the following season.

But most players coming off of rookie scale deals like to lock in a large chunk of guaranteed dollars as soon as possible, and the Suns have all the leverage. So unless things get really contentious during the negotiation process, expect Bledsoe back in Phoenix next season.

  1. bougin89 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Why would they do any “hoping”? They control whether he will be a Sun or not.

    • money2long - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      If he doesn’t get what he wants, play out one year and choose the next destination without being chained to the suns.

      • bougin89 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        Very true. In this case though if the Suns wanted him bad enough, they can make it happen so that he stays.

        Maybe they are more worried about his injury history than they are letting us know.

  2. misremembered72 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    I know this is totally against the Sixers philosophy but why not offer him a sheet of 4 yrs 60mil. If the suns sign him, then so be it, but if they don’t have the money to afford him then the sixers get a potential super star at somewhat of a discount.

    I know this won’t happen, but I’m just saying why not.

    Ok now you can all vote me down for speculating

    • mickdamill - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      That would accomplich nothing for their franchise and is the same reason the Suns have not offered him a ton of money. Bledsoe is a good scorer but does not make the players around him any better, to pay someone that much they need to make everyone on the court play better.

    • patfic5 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Might as well. They draft players with injuries, why not sign them as well? Philly isn’t going anywhere anyway.

  3. mungman69 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    I don’t believe that the Sixers want any good players for this upcoming season. If they make the playoffs they lose their first round pick to the Celtics.
    For the 2015-2016 season the Sixers will be signing free agents, they have the cap space.

    • misremembered72 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Understandable, seems like a matter of whether you want next year’s first round pick or if you want a (possibly injury prone) potential superstar for cheaper than market value

  4. spursareold - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    He should just accept their qualifying offer for this year, and be unrestricted next summer. They couldn’t trade him without his consent after than, either, since technically, he’d be on a one year contract.

  5. harshedmellow - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Hard to say no to 48M guaranteed though. If he signs the 3.7M one year offer, he’s a twist of a knee from losing out on ~45 million bucks.

    45M here, 45M there, pretty soon you are getting into real money!

  6. ravenswhat - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    They went from paying anything it takes to not really caring too much if they lose him pretty darn quick.

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