Apr 14, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) reacts after a basket by Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) during the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Suns extend qualifying offers to Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker


The Phoenix Suns announced on Friday that they have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker, giving the team the right of first refusal when the starters become free agents in July. General manager Ryan McDonough and president of basketball operations Lon Babby have maintained they would do everything in their power to retain Bledsoe and Tucker, so the move does not come as a surprise.

“Restricted free agency is a beautiful thing for teams,” Babby said after the season while addressing Tucker’s free agency. “We place a value on him. The market will place a value on him. If there’s a disconnect, it’s something we have to address at the time. But we have those rights and we’d be foolhardy not to utilize them.”

If either player signs an offer sheet with another team, the Suns will have the ability to match the contract.

NBA teams have until June 30 to extend qualifying offers but can also rescind them to make players free agents. That’s not expected to be the case with either of Bledsoe or Tucker, who were crucial members to the 48 wins in 2013-14 .

Bledsoe, who is coming off his rookie contract, has been extended a qualifying offer of $3,726,966 that comes with a cap hold of $6,566,183, according to ShamSports. Tucker’s $1,148,163 qualifying offer is also the amount of his cap hold. Both players are expected to turn down the qualifying offers for long-term deals, and both will receive substantial raises.

Bledsoe is looking at a max contract projected to be around $15 million per season, while Tucker could make anywhere from $3-5 million annually.

  • Michael Nardi

    I saw that the suns have the most money to spend this off season. 35 million. That’s easily two all stars. I’d like to see a post on what possible free agents the suns can sign, and who they should chase hardest after. I know its one in a million… But if they could lure lebron in, they can pay him what he wants and sign a quality big man this off season. Championship team right there. Too bad it’s one in a million lol.

    • Adam

      Sarver said they want to spend all their cap money. We should be pretty active in FA.

      Obviously getting Lebron would be incredible…but like you said its one in a million.

      I don’t want to be one of these teams that seems to be sculpting their entire team around attracting Lebron. Only one team is going to get him. I think Love is more realistic, but even that might be a long shot.

      If we can resign Bledsoe, and get a couple of quality vets like Gasol and Deng on short 2-3 deals, then we are strong enough to win now, and with our last 2 drafts and 2 more 1st rounders next year, we are still able to keep building.

    • DBreezy

      Wouldn’t this have the same caveat as the draft? They wanted to trade for a lot of things that didn’t happen for whatever reason, so they just took best available and a stash player and moved on. I’m sure the list of players that they’d really max the cap out for is limited.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    I guess we should be happy the Suns did’t force the issue. Hornets have now selected Bismack Biyombo, Cody Zeller, and now Noah Vonleh. AND they snaked Dwight Powell from us late in the 2nd?

    How did the Spurs end up with Kyle Anderson?

    The Jazz landed Exum AND Rodney Hood?

    The 76ers have taken two injured centers in consecutive years?

    The Knicks find Early and that Greek kid in the 2nd?

    Suns might have found the steal of fhe draft at #50 with center Alec Brown!
    A skilled legitimate 7′-0′ center who averaged close to 16 and five on 50 percent shooting along with 3-point range AND a 75 percent free-throw shooter!

    If that wasn’t enough to impress you, the kid blocked almost three shots
    per game! Channing who? Suns potentially have matching 7′-0′ bookends on the frontline in a couple of seasons.

    Suns easily came away THE winners in this draft that was void of instant Super-stars.

  • Meirsch.

    So: what’s the consensus on Bledsoe being offered some Aldridge-style payday from a team with plenty of money to burn and no shot of getting at ‘Melo or Love? I keep seeing the Lakers being floated as potential threats to balloon up a payday for EB–17-18 million, presumably–which raises the question of whether or not the Suns want to match?

    He’s got a hell of a ceiling, but I can’t say that I’ve seen anything in the last two years that suggests he should be making as much money as Chris Bosh likely will, for the next few years.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      Rant Sports has already reported the Suns will seek a sign and trade with the Wolves for Bledsoe after they drafted Tyler Ennis at 18. Apparently the Suns have a standing offer from Toronto for Ennis since they might lose Lowry for the same reason.

      Lakers can’t exceed the CBA with their offer. A max for Bledsoe would be about $15 million per year.

      • Adam

        Is the sign and trade for Love? Otherwise, what would we be looking to get from the Wolves? I don’t really want Rubio here…so I can’t think of anything that sounds that appealing?

        Same with Toronto. Apparently they were calling right after our Ennis pick to try and trade for him, but what can they offer us? Future picks are great, but if the Suns like Ennis enough, and are losing Bledsoe…wouldnt it be better to keep him around?

        • Meirsch.

          Same questions, here: thanks for the CBA information, EBJM. Very interesting.

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          Of course Love, I thought that was a given. Ennis was valued much higher than 18. He simply was the best player at18. Raptors seem like they know they cannot afford to pay Lowry and really wanted Ennis.

          Suns are in win-now mode. Maybe they do not want to pay Bledsoe $15 million per? Dragic has been relatively injury-free over his career and he was the 3rd team All-NBA player, not Bledsoe.

      • coachj

        EBJM:

        That article is from some offshoot of USA Today website that is all speculation and their opinion. In fact, they really only write one sentence and it is obvious they know absolutely no concrete facts. In addition, on their same website, in a much higher placement article, they are touting the whole Love to GSW deal.

        I seriously doubt we trade Bledsoe. and I also don’t think we drafted Ennis for the idea that we are trading Bledsoe. I actually think we drafted Ennis for one of two reasons: [1] they felt he was going to end up being the best player out of who was available, or [2] they simply knew Toronto wanted him badly and drafted him knowing they could possibly extort something of greater value from them [like Terrence Ross maybe???]. Not saying they will succeed, but it seems plausible.

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          I didn’t give the source any weight, simpy posting the rumors as I read them. Toronto wanted Ennis as insurance for Lowry leaving, why wouldn’t McD do the same?

          Of course we were surprised that he was still on the board at 18. Payton getting selected before him was a bit surprising,

    • coachj

      see my breakdown of our CAP situation above.

      Bledsoe cannot be offered more than the MAX for a player of less than 6 years experience, which is approximately 25% of the cap [but may actually be slightly lower based on how they calculate BRI].

      With the cap expected to be at $63.2M, his MAX starting salary can only be 15.8M with 7.5% raises over 5 years.

      Lakers [with their cap holds] don’t have room to sign Bledsoe to a max deal until they determine what they are doing with Gasol. So I don’t see him getting an offer sheet from LA. They would go after Lebron first, then carmelo, then Gasol, and then maybe Bledsoe.

      • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

        What cap holds? They have a team option on Marshall for less than one million. They have only $31.1 million in salary towards their cap.

        Pau Gasol is an unrestricted free agent, no cap hold. Lakers have no control over Gasol.

        • MyMets

          So Memphis wants Pau to be a back up to his brother? Cos’ they just gave an extension to Z-bo to play PF and Marc plays Center.

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Back-up or next to, does it really matter?

            Pau has made his money and won a couple of rings. He would more than likely want to finish his career helping his brother than play with the rebuilding Lakers.

  • coachj

    Currently, the Suns have the following players under contract for this upcoming season [without any contingencies] – rounded:

    Dragic 7.5
    Green 3.5
    Len 3.65
    Kieff 2.99
    Marcus 2.94
    Plumlee 1.17
    Goodwin 1.1

    That gets us to 23.85 M committed.

    Then we have draft picks that are slotted: #14 = 1.63; #18 = 1.33; #27 = .93 [but this amount won't count if Bogi does not sign and plays overseas - we shall see, but I will include it in case he stays here].

    Now we are at $27.64 M

    We also have both RFA and FA players that require a cap hold [these will come off under one of three scenarios [1] we re-sign them, [2] they sign elsewhere, or [3] we renounce them:

    Frye = $9.6 M [cap hold amount]
    Tucker = 1.15 [QO amount]
    Bledsoe = 3.73 [QO amount]
    Okafor = 19.18 [cap hold amount]
    Barbosa = .92 [cap hold amount]
    More than likely we will renounce Barbosa and Okafor will get signed or we renounce, so let’s not count them into our cap.

    Now we are at $42.12 M

    So as of right now, assuming we renounce Barbosa and Okafor, and we keep Bogi here, that is the amount of money we have committed to our cap.

    The cap is projected to be $63.2M [but may be adjusted on July 1, so that could change - but it is a good number for now]. This means we have 20.08 M available right now.

    BUT….

    Now lets start talking about what we might do. First thing is we offered PJ and EB their QO, and more than likely we will sign Bledsoe as that is our first priority. Currently EB is qualified to make a MAX salary of an estimated starting point of $15.8 M [it could be reduced from that if they calculate the % they take of BRI as the lower amount like they did last year]. Let’s just assume for now that is his first year salary, which hits our cap number this season. Hopefully they can convince him to take less, but this isn’t a comment meant to debate those merits, just to try and clarify some things.

    Subtracting his QO number and adding his new salary puts us at $54.19 M.

    The their is PJ. I have no idea what the market will be for PJ, and whether we will re-sign him or not. Let’s assume we do and we pay him starter money. My guess is that he will garner between $3-5M. Could be more if someone really values him that highly. Let’s say they sign him for $4M. Now we are at $58.19M.

    But we also have to deal with Frye. His cap hold really dampers our ability to sign another free agent. If we were to eliminate his cap hold, we then have $14.61 M of cap space to sign a free agent. That isn’t quite MAX, but certainly is an amount that allows us to sign a high-level player.

    HOWEVER!!!! Then there is Dragic. Yes, he is signed already and makes $7.5. But he has an option after this season and is WAY underpaid. While we could sign one big payday player, or maybe two starter level upper tier players, doing so puts us in a position next year to lose Dragic. My guess is that Dragic will command $12-13M a year [funny how the near all-star player can't get the max, but Bledsoe can]. Most likely we then let Gerald Green walk and use some of his money to extend Dragic. That means we need to reserve about $2-3 M in cap space this year to be able to extend Dragic next year. So let’s take about $3M off our current space for that eventuality [let's assume the worst and go with the bigger number].

    So right now, I would say we legitimately have about $11.6M in cap space to add another player through free agency.

    • DBreezy

      I would add that a lot of the cap stuff depends on whom they can legitimately add with Bledsoe. For certain players I’m certain that they’d be willing to exceed the salary cap for right now even with next year and beyond’s ramifications. Also I’m sure the pro capologists are already adjusting ther projections for the 2015-2016 cap upward. This years projection exceeded expectations greatly and they haven’t had the impact of the new tv deals yet.

      • coachj

        Exceed the salary cap? Did Sarver sell the team?

        • DBreezy

          No. He’s exceeded the cap before and I think he would do it again. What he was awful at was the timing of his decisions relative to the luxury tax and the current window of the team. He has a better management team in place now, hopefully guiding those moves better. We’ll see.

          • coachj

            He will do it for James, but nobody else. Melo? More like Mell No!

          • DBreezy

            Melo likely isn’t in the picture from either side of the table without Lebron.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      Alec Brown can replace Frye for 1/9 the cost and he is a better shot-blocker! Frye’s cap hold comes off the books ar the same time as all of the FAs become available. Frye will end up with Warriors. Suns should call Kerr and seek a sign and trade for Marreesse Speights.

      • coachj

        Alec Brown cannot replace Frye. Maybe if 4 years. He is rail thin and has no real basketball skill other than shooting. you are talking about a kid who has proven nothing and comparing him to a legitimate NBA player here…

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          Are you listening to yourself? “No real basketball skill other than shooting”. You just described Channing Frye.

          If Alec Brown plays just like Frye, camped out at the three-point line, why does it matter that he is rail thin?

          He weighs 232# at age 21 and has been gradually filling out. This is actually better for seven-footers, their knees can be strenghened while adding size to avoid Greg Oden issues.

          Did you even follow the predraft workouts? Brown did the most for his draft stock by demonstrating he was one of the BEST shooters in this draft.

          Why pay Frye $9 million to spread the floor when this kid will do it for $900,000?

          Frye is gone. McD wants his salary to make a serious run ar Lebron James and a star of his choosing, Carmelo or Bosh or whomever.

          When you can replace Frye with a 50th pick, what does that say about Frye? Do you seriously believe McD just arbitrarily chose Brown after conning Frye to opt-out?

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Just a thought. I wonder if Emeka Okafur would be willing to re-sign for a veteran’s minimum? He would really help the low-post defense and rebounding. Suns staff could rehabilitate his herniated disk.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Z-Bo opted out of $16 million to take $20 million over two years.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    OUTSTANDING! Suns are keeping Bledsoe and making a legitimate run at Lebron James!