Eric Bledsoe‘s future remains in limbo entering the fourth week of the NBA free agency period. Top-tier free agents have made their decisions. So have younger, second-tier talents. And so have established role players. It’s telling that Bledsoe is the best free agent left on the board, but after Greg Monroe and Evan Turner, it’s down to Shawn Marion, Jameer Nelson and Andray Blatche.
Speculation about Bledsoe’s impasse with the Phoenix Suns regarding his next contract has been well-chronicled, but here’s what we know.
Health issues a question mark
The Suns know Bledsoe’s knees well enough where they’d have to be comfortable offering him any deal, but it’s often forgotten that this has to be a serious topic of negotiations (or a cause for other teams’ apprehension).
Bledsoe had part of his meniscus removed on Jan. 10. That surgery, performed by Suns team doc Thomas Carter, followed up a meniscus repair surgery done in October 2011 done by the well-known knee specialist Dr. James Andrews. In four NBA seasons, Bledsoe has averaged 22 minutes per game played and has appeared in 77 percent of the regular season games available to him. This isn’t all injury-related, of course, but it is important to note that he’s needed two knee surgeries despite not being on the floor all that much. Bledsoe is 24 years old.
Even with Bledsoe’s strong return this past season, it’s hard to toss all the above out the window. Whether it has to do with length of a contract or the annual salary, is hard to say.