Report: Agent for Eric Bledsoe holding firm on max contract request

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When restricted free agent Gordon Hayward signed an offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets this summer, the Jazz were more than happy to match, because it saved them having to commit an extra contract year to retain his services.

The Suns would have similarly been thrilled to do the same where Eric Bledsoe was concerned, but due to a combination of his wanting to be paid on potential rather than results, along with Phoenix’s public promise to match any offer he received, no teams stepped up with a formal offer sheet during the free agent process.

With the opening of training camp less than a month away, Bledsoe remains unsigned. And his agent hasn’t moved an inch from his demand of a max contract extension for his client, with the threat of his taking the one-year qualifying offer becoming more and more likely to become a reality as each day passes.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Suns’ Bledsoe remains final RFA on market. Agent has held firm on max contract or no deal. He couldn’t get Bledsoe an offer sheet elsewhere.

Suns made 4-year, $48M offer — comparable to Ty Lawson and Kyle Lowry — but Bledsoe camp has been unwilling to negotiate off that number.

Bledsoe has been great when healthy, but durability with him is a real concern. He’s been sidelined by substantial injuries in two of his four NBA seasons, and has only really gotten a chance to show what he can do in part of one season, which was playing alongside Goran Dragic last year in 43 games for Phoenix.

Greg Monroe decided to bet on himself by taking the one-year qualifying offer with the Pistons, and we may see Bledsoe choose to take the very same path. But the risk is much greater with Bledsoe than it was for Monroe, who appeared in all but three games during his first four NBA seasons.

The reward, however — becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2015 — is evidently enough of a motivator for Bledsoe and his camp to hold firm on the desire for a max contract now, or else play next season on a one-year deal without the safety net of future guaranteed dollars in place.

Brandon Clarke bullies Ian Mahinmi with monster dunk (video)

Brandon Clarke
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?

After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon¬†Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.

Patty Mills hits game-winner in Spurs’ NBA-record fourth straight OT game (video)

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.

But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.

Popovich, via ESPN:

“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.

And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.

 

Report: Luka Doncic might return to Mavericks within a couple weeks

Luka Doncic
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Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.

Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.

Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.

But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.

Bucks’ Eric Bledsoe out two weeks due to right fibula avulsion fracture

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The Milwaukee Bucks keep right on rolling, they won their 18th straight on Saturday night, cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now they’re going to have to keep this winning streak going without point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Bledsoe will miss at least two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced Saturday. The injury happened Friday night in a win against Memphis.

An avulsion fracture is where a strain to ligament pulls a little bit of bone off where the two connect. It sounds worse than it is medically, and while it hurts rest is usually the only treatment needed.

Bledsoe is averaging 15 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Bucks, shooting 34.4 percent from three, playing solid defense, and providing another ball handler and shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee has been +4.1 points per 100 possessions this season with Bledsoe on the court.

George Hill, who has had a strong season for Milwaukee off the bench, will step into the starting role for now.

The injury comes at a rough time as the Buck hit a tougher part of the schedule this week, facing Dallas (which may be without Luka Doncic) and the Lakers on Thursday.