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.