Eric Bledsoe, Suns see NBA extension deadline pass


The Suns and Eric Bledsoe failed to agree on a contract extension by midnight Eastern Time on Halloween, meaning the Phoenix guard will become a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns and Bledsoe were far apart in their negotiations in the final hours leading into the deadline.

That’s understandable on Bledsoe’s end considering, as the season opener showed, he’s likely to help his value this season by playing in Hornacek’s uptempo offense. As we’ve discussed on this blog, a four-year, $40 million extension would seem like a fine deal for Phoenix — considering he’s still unproven as a lead guard — and it could even have handed out up to $50 million without truly overpaying, question marks included.

Bledsoe could enter restricted free agency next summer with quite a high asking price. Phoenix would of course be able to match any deal, but it likely won’t be as ideal value-wise compared to an agreement being reached by the end of Oct. 31. The only advantage for the Suns now is that they’ll get more time to see if Bledsoe is truly worth shelling out for.

Six players from Bledsoe’s 2010 class of first-rounders who were up for extensions received them. Washington guard John Wall (five years, $80 million), Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins (four years, $62 million), Indiana swingman Paul George (five years, $80 million), Milwaukee center Larry Sanders (four years, $44 million), Utah center Derrick Favors (four years, $50 million) and Memphis swingman Quincy Pondexter (four years, $14 million).

Update: Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes on how Bledsoe very well could be holding out for max money — and rightfully so.

On the other hand, ESPN’s Marc Stein writes that Bledsoe was asking for upward of $10 million per year, which is quite obvious. Yet, it seems the Suns and the guard were at an “undeniable gulf,” which is also quite broad of a spectrum and unclear (is $1 million per year a gulf, or $5 million?). Stein ties the unproven point guard skills of Bledsoe to the now less-likely Goran Dragic trade rumors.

  • Scott

    @Ty-Sun -

    Let me recast my thoughts on Oladipo and Bledsoe.

    Even though he has played 3 years in college, Oladipo is still pretty raw as a basketball player. To me, what he has in his favor is athleticism, motor, will to win (maybe not exactly killer instinct), and probably high IQ.

    If you assume that Oladipo continues to develop as he plays in the NBA, he’s probably got a higher ceiling than Bledsoe, and that’s assuming he has a higher IQ.

    But at the moment, Bledsoe is not only better, he’s got a lot of irrational hype behind him. So I would try to leverage that and get more assets – if I could – than just Oladipo.

    And that’s assuming the Magic would even do the trade.

    Not that I would ask for Vucevic (though of course that would be great). But Nicholson or Harkless are maybe lower tier talents that might be available to add in. Or maybe a future first round pick (obviously not 2014).

  • Scott

    BTW, two things I’m very interested in seeing develop, aside from the Bledsoe sign/trade saga, is the possible trade of the Okafor contract and the Morris twins.

    I wonder what McD can get for those assets.

  • DBreezy

    Foreveris,

    If you look at it, I actually said ‘as far as paying him, I take nothing from the POR game’. I just meant that for me it didn’t change what I would be willing to pay Bledsoe right now, but hoops wise I definitely understand why they went under those screens.

  • foreveris2long

    I acknowledge your thoughts DBreezy. It will be a fun discussion next summer.

  • Mel.

    @Scott – Totally valid point; there were certainly some acquisitions in the mid and late 1990′s that were predicated on lead-lined contracts for strictly midlevel talent, which I think set that mentality in motion.

    The jury’s still out on the long-term implications of the CBA, but it’s nice to know that GMs like McD have finally started to set a precedent of canning the panic button, and potentially overpaying the wrong guys.

  • http://none Keith

    Good posts, forever. Agreed with all that about Bledsoe.

  • foreveris2long

    Thanks Keith.It will be an interesting summer in 2014.

  • Scott

    @Mel. -

    Yup. One of the things I’ve been asking for is for the Suns to have some financial discipline. If you’re looking to make it to the top, that’s as important as all the rest.

  • SkyBill40

    There is absolutely NO way the Suns pry Oladipo from ORL. NONE.

    Bledsoe definitely has to show that he’s worth that kind of money. He played behind Paul for a reason, so this is truly his one chance to shine. As someone else mentioned, another team is going to throw money at him and potentially price us out of the game. While it remains to be seen what the final figure is, I’m expecting it to be close to $10M/year else we unload him somewhere and start over.

    I’m just going to be disappointed if getting him ends up being for next to nothing (despite us giving up about that much).

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