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.
And in PHX: Word is Eric Bledsoe & Suns also facing gulf as extension buzzer nears despite GM Ryan McDonough saying he's hopeful of deal too
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 31, 2013
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.