Eric Bledsoe is one of the budding young stars in the NBA, that much is without question. However, even after a season in which Bledsoe became a starter for the first time in his career and averaged 17 points a game, he and the Phoenix Suns are still MILES apart in contract negotiations. Bledsoe, who is represented by the same agent as Lebron James, turned down a 4-year, $48 million contract from Phoenix earlier this week and rumors have suggested they are looking for something more in the 5-year, $80 million range, similar to what John Wall and Demarcus Cousins signed for last offseason.
On one hand, I see where Bledsoe and his agent are coming from. Players like Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons have raked in contracts this offseason worth over $15 million a year, and it’s not hard to make a case that Bledsoe is on par with those 2. On another hand, Phoenix has loaded up at their guard position this offseason, bringing in rookie Tyler Ennis and former Kings PG Isaiah Thomas as insurance policies in case another team were to sign a large offer sheet with Bledsoe and seemingly as leverage in negotiations as well.
In reality, 5-years, $80 million isn’t going to happen for Bledsoe, who sat out a large chunk of this season with injuries but was one of the most exciting players in the league when he was on the court. Also, as a restricted free agent, Eric has the opportunity to play out the last season of his contract for $3.7 million and enter free agency next offseason if he wants to hold out for a max deal. While I believe the Suns’ offer is on the low side of what he’s worth as a player, with the amount of PG talent the team already has, its not surprise they are lowballing Bledsoe to a certain degree, especially knowing that not reaching a deal would result in him still being on the team for a lower price.
I wish Bledsoe all the best, but asking for a larger contract than he’s already been offered from Phoenix seems to be out of the question at this point. Now, the decision to be made is whether or not he wants to take the guaranteed $40+ million right now with Phoenix, or hold out for another year and risk injury to get a larger contract in another city next offseason.