Talkin' Ball: What did we learn in Las Vegas?
LAS VEGAS – Things aren’t looking good when it comes to negotiations between the Phoenix Suns and their restricted free agent star guard Eric Bledsoe.
According to league sources, an “ominous development” has arisen with sides still “very far apart” in contract negotiations. It has even escalated to the point where the “relationship is on the express lane to being ruined,” a source with knowledge of the situation informed CSNNW.com.
The Suns offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million deal with declining salaries each year, two sources said. That proposal was quickly turned down. Bledsoe’s camp is putting a max price tag on the player Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek called “a Top-10 player in the NBA in coming years”, another source said.
Phoenix has made it known publicly and repeatedly that they intend to match any offer sheets competitors issue out to Bledsoe. This tactic has succeeded in scaring away any potential suitors so far. However, the effort by the Suns to undermine Bledsoe’s market is what has angered Bledsoe and his reps and led to a standoff in which the relationship is now on the verge of being irreparable, we’re told.
Other teams that are/were in the process of dealing with their own restricted free agents (Utah, Detroit, Houston) chose not to use the public scare tactics this summer, another factor that has Bledsoe feeling chilly at the thought of a return to the desert, a source said.
Bledsoe, 24, just came off of a breakout season after being traded to the Suns as he posted numbers of 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The athletic guard, considered by some to be one of the most dominant defensive guards in the NBA, has kept quiet for the most part during this free agency period though recently he voiced his displeasure with how the Suns are attacking his restricted free agency.
Only time will tell what transpires from here, but as of now, it is at an increasingly ugly stage.