New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns

Report: ‘Looking like’ Eric Bledsoe will take Suns’ qualifying offer

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Eric Bledsoe expressed dissatisfaction. Then, someone in his camp took the rhetoric to a whole other level.

Meanwhile, Suns owner Robert Sarver maintains Phoenix’s contract offerreportedly worth $48 million over four years – is fair.

Safe to say, Bledsoe’s restricted free agency is not moving toward a resolution.

But how far apart are he and the Suns? Would Bledsoe really accept his one-year, $3,726,966 qualifying offer?

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

It’s in Bledsoe’s best interest to make the Suns believe he’ll accept the qualifying offer. They don’t want him to take it.

For one, they couldn’t trade him without his consent next season. After that, he’d become an unrestricted free agent.

If Bledsoe takes the qualifying offer, Phoenix faces far too high odds of losing a talented young player for no return. That’s really the Suns only incentive to increase their contract offer to Bledsoe.

For Bledsoe, the risk of taking the qualifying offer is huge – but so is the reward. He could excel this season and get a max contract next summer. Or he could get hurt and make far less than Phoenix has offered.

It’s much easier for Bledsoe to talk about signing the qualifying offer than to actually sign the qualifying offer. Maybe he’s serious about that option, or maybe someone from his camp has just convinced Broussard the possibility is real.

I actually think Bledsoe’s true value in a vacuum is higher than $48 million over four years, but in reality, the Suns have all the leverage. Bledsoe can talk all he wants about signing the qualifying offer until Oct. 1, when it expires. If it expires, Bledsoe would remain a restricted free agent. He just wouldn’t have that standing contract offer. So, something should break before then.

I think it should be Bledsoe. For his part, the situation stinks, but $48 million is so much more than $3.7 million. It’s unwise to pass up that much money on the chance for more, especially for a player with Bledsoe’s injury history.

When push comes to shove, Bledsoe should take the Suns’ $48 million offer. Until then, he can posture about the qualifying offer.

And maybe he’s serious about accepting that smaller one-year deal. But it’s really hard to believe he means business about that option until he actually signs it.

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.

DeMarre Carroll shoves Isaiah Thomas to ground on break, tempers flare

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Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll picked up a deserved flagrant for this foul.

With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.

Thomas got up and had words, as did Jae Crowder.

Carroll got a flagrant and a technical, Thomas and Crowder each picked up technicals for jumping in.

Seth Curry puts up career high 31 against Timberwolves (VIDEO)

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When Stephen Curry wore a headband through the All-Star Game last weekend, West coach Steve Kerr jokingly called him “Seth” all night.

Dallas’ Seth Curry came out of the week-long break playing like an All-Star. He dropped 31 on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, a career high for him. He hit 13-of-17 from the field, including three from beyond the arc, but did a lot of his damage in the midrange.

It wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves got a comfortable 97-84 win behind 27 points from Andrew Wiggins and 26 from Karl-Anthony Towns. Nerlens Noel was not yet with his new team in time to play for the Mavs in this game.

Spurs kick off rust from layoff to beat Clippers 105-97 in Chris Paul’s return

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard dunks during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points despite foul trouble and the San Antonio Spurs shook off the rust from a nine-day layoff to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-97 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in his return from a 15-game absence because of a fractured finger. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 12 rebounds.

Blake Griffin scored 29 points for the Clippers, who have dropped consecutive games to the league’s two winningest teams since the All-Star break ended. They lost by 10 points at Golden State a night earlier. The Spurs have the league’s second-best record at 44-13.

Chris Paul added 17 points in his return after missing five weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.