Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have lost 18 out of their last 21 games, it is understandably convenient for Lakers fans to feel the need to distract themselves from the rest of the season.
So, here’s this — Phoenix Suns guard point Eric Bledsoe will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Bledsoe is only 24 years old and was having an All-Star caliber year before going down with a knee injury. The numbers fill up a stat sheet — 18.0 points , 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game; the only players in the NBA to amass Bledsoe in all of these categories are Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul.
The rumor floating around is that the Lakers might make a run at Bledsoe this summer, making it very hard for Phoenix to match a “poison pill” offer.
Basically, the idea of a “poison pill” contract is offering a back-loaded contract to a restricted free agent so the other team trying to match would have to commit a ton of money down the line. An example would be offering a player a three-year, $25 million contract, with the third year’s annual salary being $15 million.
A team like the Suns with a cheap owner in Robert Sarver would be extremely hesitant to commit a huge amount of money to one player three years into the future. This can really strap the flexibility of a franchise when they compete for free agents. They would constantly be tip-toeing and having to plan to stay under the tax threshold for that “poison pill” year.
The Lakers have never been too worried about paying the luxury tax if it meant competing for championships. By hi-jacking a rising star away from a division rival, the Lakers would be killing two birds with one stone.
I wouldn’t put it past Jim Buss to try to get back at Phoenix for swindling him in the Steve Nash trade, where Buss and Mitch Kupchak traded multiple first round picks in exchange for the oft-injured point guard.
Will this idea come to fruition? It’s one scenario that could happen, sure. It’s something to ponder, which is all Lakers fans have right now in this lost season.