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.

Jared Dudley: Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced mean mugging in locker room

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Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Game 3 dunk over Aron Baynes was great.

Antetokounmpo’s Game 4 dunk over Al Horford (seen above) is even better, because of the fantastic mean mug that followed.

The rise of Antetokounmpo is no accident. He worked hard to develop his on-court skills. And that includes all aspects.

Suns forward Jared Dudley, who played with Antetokounmpo on the 2014-15 Bucks:

This is the inside info we need.

Report: Knicks are Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer’s top choice for job

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Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.

“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’

“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’

Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.

But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.

When Kristaps Porzingis returns is the biggest variable. But Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke are all in their primes. Atlanta is much thinner.

The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.

The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.

Andrew Bogut signs to play in NBL in native Australia

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Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.

So he is going home.

Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.

Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).

At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.

Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.

Never change Lance. Never change.