One of the biggest trades of the NBA offseason was the Phoenix Suns’ acquisition of guard Eric Bledsoe from the Los Angeles Clippers. Bledsoe is one of the most promising prospects in the game, but he simply didn’t fit as the backup point guard on the Clippers’ win-now roster. The Suns got him for a very reasonable price, giving up only Jared Dudley and the $10 million needed to pay Caron Butler’s contract in the process.
However, yesterday was the deadline for teams to sign 2010 first round picks to a contract extension, and the Suns could not reach terms on a deal with Bledsoe. Bledsoe reportedly wants in excess of $10 million annually, but he doesn’t have a lot of substantial experience in the league. The Suns want to be sure that Bledsoe is capable of running a team full time before they pay him, and that is a very smart move.
Bledsoe averaged 8.5 PPG, 3.1 APG and 3.0 RPG in just over 20 minutes a game with the Clippers last season. He is a lock down perimeter defender, but there are some concerns about whether or not he is a true point guard. The Suns want to see these concerns addressed before they give him a big contract, as Bledsoe has never been the star of the team before.
Bledsoe will now be a restricted free agent after this season, and if he develops the way most think he will, then he will receive at least one max contract offer in free agency. This will end up costing the Suns some money in the long run, but so what? They will have the cap space to match, and a few extra million dollars is a small price for an NBA team to pay to be 100% sure it has its point guard of the future.
It is highly unlikely that the Suns will allow Bledsoe to leave, even if he struggles to adjust to running an offense full time. They believe that Bledsoe and Alex Len are the future of their franchise, and they didn’t trade for Bledsoe to be a one year rental. However, the Suns want to be sure they know exactly what they have before they pay for it, and that is a wise move.