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Suns owner says team would love to talk contract with Eric Bledsoe, he shut them down

Aug 12, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

According to multiple reports, the relationship between Eric Bledsoe and the Suns is spiraling clockwise down the toilet.

Bledsoe says the Suns are “using restricted free agency against me” and he is considering playing for the qualifying offer for a year just to get out.

Of course, that’s not how Suns ownership/management is going to spin this, they think they are being completely reasonable, having offered four-years, $48 million (which may be about the going rate for Bledsoe). Now the owner is telling Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic that he wants to sit down and talk, it’s Bledsoe that was being unreasonable.

Six weeks into free agency, Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver expressed how he still wants to sign Bledsoe to a long-term contract with the Suns. He also just wants to be able to talk to Bledsoe.

“We value Eric as a player,” Sarver said. “I hope at some point we’ll be able to sit down and meet with those guys and make a deal….

“Maybe that’s just posturing and negotiating,” Sarver said of the reports (that the Suns relationship with Bledsoe soured). “We haven’t heard from the guy in four months, so I couldn’t tell you. I do know that when he played here, he felt good about the organization, his coaching staff and his teammates at the end of the season. We had the same feelings toward him.”

This is the risk teams take in restricted free agency — what they consider a fair offer and market value can lead to troubled relationships. Just ask Eric Gordon in New Orleans (that situation is complicated by injuries).

To suggest there has been no contact between the sides is not true — Bledsoe got the offer from the Suns. He tried to do what you do in restricted free agency, which is to get another team to make a big offer and force your current team to match or let you walk (as Gordon Hayward did). But Bledsoe couldn’t. The combination of him wanting a max not every team thought he deserved and most teams thinking the Suns would just match anyway, there was no offer. So he was stuck.

Now his options are to take what’s on the table or play for the qualifying offer ($3.7 million) and the risks that come with that.

The Suns have played this hard but well. Unless they lose the guy for nothing after next season.

  1. sportsfan18 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Even when a team or a business plays well and does something right… they don’t always win…

    “The Suns have played this hard but well. Unless they lose the guy for nothing after next season.”

    With Bledsoe’s injury history, his team (agent, family etc…) and he would be nuts to give up a guaranteed $48 million to play for the QO…

    The Suns have played this well… and if this man somehow decides to be foolish and play for the QO, well the Suns still played it how they should have as a team would rarely expect a player to turn down that much guaranteed money, especially with his injury history (he’s missed 23% of the games in his career to this point and that was during his age 21 to 24 seasons to boot… not good.

    • dohoangquan35 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      I don’t think this guy’s body will even make it to the next free agency, let alone displaying All-Star numbers. Then he will be taught a valuable lesson and just beg for a roster spot.

  2. bringin1234 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    just play for the QO if you want to bet on yourself. More power to him. Id root for him to have a healthy high quality season. That’s about his only option, otherwise the offer on the table is fair given his injury history. If he didn’t have such a lengthy injury history, he would be a max guy.

    • urodaddy07 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      This offer to me is more than fair. I don’t see him earning more than this in FA next year, even if he ha a good year

      • bringin1234 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        didn’t say the offer was unfair. Just saying that, ok you don’t like their offer, move on play for the QO and bet on yourself having a big season where youre healthy all year.

  3. spursareold - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    There isn’t a history of a lot of guys taking the year 5 QO. Then again, up until maybe 2 years ago, if you had a young guy you wanted to keep, you MAXed him. Since that changed, I think you will start to see guys play out year 5. After all, it’s not much different than year 4. You’re still screwed if you’re injured.

    Until a few good players accept the QO, you will see teams continue to offer less than the MAX, and know they will keep guys.

    • paleihe - Aug 12, 2014 at 7:22 PM

      They’re basically going to match whatever another team offers. If the Sixers came in the gave Bledsoe the max, the Suns would match it.

      But, when you’re bidding against yourself, no reason to give max to a player that genuinely hasn’t proven that he deserves it.

      In any case, I hope Bledsoe accepts the deal, take that guaranteed money!

      • bkbell3 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Correct, and if he takes the qualifying offer he loses 8 mil, so on his next contract he needs to get 14mil over 4 years to break even. So what does he think he is going to get if he manages to stay healthy? Is he going to get 17-18mil per year? He, with his injury history, is going to risk that someone has enough cap room to spend that kind of money on him and have teams with enough cap room that don’t already have a good point guard? How many teams does that leave? I don’t think he has shown enough to deserve 12mil let alone more before you consider his injury history. He hasn’t been on the court as a starter long enough to see if he can sustain a high level of play.

  4. rrhoe - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    I am at the point where I really wish Bledsoe would just take the QO,play out the season and let it rain “max” contracts next summer. He will be able to pick and choose from the vast array of teams that’ll be lining up for his services,contracts in hand of course.

    The only problem is,I don’t see him getting a max deal no matter how this season plays out. Playing under the QO he will play to not get hurt for one and for two his game may become more selfish as he will want to inflate his stats,generally not a good combination.

  5. censormynameandmycomments - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    I think it’s pretty obvious that Bledsoe is getting bad advice, but the real question should be why is Robert Sarver involved here? Everything he touches turns to…uh…mud, yeah…mud.

    The Suns have a hotshot new GM in Ryan McD. Let him handle this. Sarver needs to back off and remember that the fans and a lot of players still hate him.

  6. campcouch - Aug 12, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Play for the one year and move on. He had a shin injury last year and missed half of the season, prior to that he was stuck behind Chris Paul and sent to the D-league, so this “injury history” argument isn’t legit. His games started should be crux in the debate about a max contract. He hasn’t logged enough starter time to cement himself as being worthy of max money. When he does get on the court he produces, but that’s too small of a sampling to consider paying so much. If he takes the qualifier, Phoenix is either going to play hardball use him sparingly, attempt to trade him in season or discuss a new contract with him, and I don’t see him sticking around…although money changes many a heart. We’ll see if a team will offer him a large stack next season, maybe some team like the Pacers.

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