Eric Bledsoe hasn’t played a game since early January for the Phoenix Suns after having surgery to repair a meniscus injury on Jan. 10. Prior to the injury, the point guard seemed destined for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, but his absence hasn’t been too glaring as the Suns have maintained success with him out of the lineup.
In the 24 game Bledsoe played in for Phoenix prior to this injury after coming to the Suns in a trade this summer, the 24-year-old averaged 18 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 33.5 minutes per game while also shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 35 percent from three. His play with the Suns certainly ignited them to their early success and his imminent return will more than likely cement them in the postseason.
Looking beyond the rest of this year, though, Bledsoe will become a restricted free-agent this summer as his rookie contract expires. That means that teams will be able to offer whatever deals they please to Bledsoe, but the Suns will have the option to match any offer thrown the young point guard’s way. As of right now, that’s exactly what Phoenix intends to do.
According to a report from Arizona Sports, Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby says that they “know enough about Eric as a player” and person and will match any offer sheet given to Bledsoe this summer. This is the position he’s maintained for quite a while now and, given how good the guard has been when healthy, it’s unsurprising.
The question that really looms is how much the Suns are going to have to pay Bledsoe, meaning what type of offers he’ll draw. Guys like Ty Lawson and Stephen Curry signed deals in the four-year, $40 million range, which you’d have to figure is the baseline when considering a deal for a young, dynamic talent like Bledsoe. Based on upside, Bledsoe could possibly draw even more money in restricted free agency. Whatever the figure ends up being, though, expect the Suns to match and keep him as a cornerstone for their franchise moving forward.