Eric Bledsoe remains a restricted free agent at this late stage of the offseason, thanks to his initial contract demands of a five-year max deal being a little higher than the Suns were willing to go.
Phoenix was thinking four years, $48 million — a more than fair offer, considering Bledsoe’s part-time level of production due to injury during his first four NBA seasons.
A stalemate existed for the longest time, however, because Bledsoe wants to be paid on potential, while the Suns weren’t about to mortgage the future for anything less than a proven sure thing. Now that the start of training camp is less than a week away, both sides have additional motivation to get a deal done, and it appears as though they’re (finally) headed in that direction.
Phoenix, Eric Bledsoe have made progress on a new contract in past 48-72 hours, sources tell Yahoo. No deal yet, but significant momentum.
Bledsoe had threatened to play next season under a one-year qualifying offer, which would have given him the ability to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
But unlike Greg Monroe of the Pistons, who took that qualifying offer after playing in all but three games during his first four seasons, durability has been a concern for Bledsoe, who has missed about half of two separate seasons — including last year in Phoenix — with significant injuries.
Bledsoe can’t afford to take that risk, so his agent once again coming to the negotiating table at this late hour makes plenty of sense.
It’ll be interesting to see whether he tries to land a shorter deal of maybe two years, in order to up his value for a future free agency period while still netting a modicum of financial security with a guaranteed multi-year deal. But regardless of how it ultimately plays out, it seems as though fences are on the way to being mended between Bledsoe and the Suns.