In the initial conversations that the Suns had with teams yesterday – teams like the Bucks and the Nuggets and the Knicks and the Clippers are some of the teams that they’ve talked to – their asking price was very high. Some of the team that I’ve talked to were taken aback by what the Suns asked for.
If they’re going to keep their asking price very high – which is usually, in some of these talks, a young player and a draft pick or a young player and an established player – they may have to wait a while for the market to play out.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, via Arizona Sports 98.7 FM:
We’ve gotten some pretty good offers, especially in the last 24 hours or so. We’re comfortable with the offers we’re getting. There are a few teams in particular that are being pretty aggressive. Contrary to what you might have heard or read, there is a strong market for Eric Bledsoe.
I think we heard from all 29 teams at this point.
Both sides are obviously trying to spin the situation in their favor. The Suns want to portray a robust competition for Bledsoe, driving up their return. Other teams want to paint Phoenix as unreasonable and get McDonough to lower his asking price.
We’ll see which side has more success, but McDonough sure didn’t help himself by treating Bledsoe like a cancer who needed to be excised before he infected the rest of the team and calling Bledsoe a liar. I’m not convinced the Suns properly understood Bledsoe’s trade value before sending home. There are few teams trying to win now that would also receive an upgrade at point guard with Bledsoe (let alone have the appropriate assets to send Phoenix, too). McDonough’s handling of the situation only hurt the Suns’ leverage further.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with a high initial asking price. Maybe it gets met. At minimum, it can anchor negotiations in Phoenix’s favor.
The Suns will probably have to lower their requests from packages like Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez, but there’s still time. Phoenix isn’t trying to win this season, anyway. Bledsoe can sit on the shelf for a while.
Of course, potential trade partners will want as much time with Bledsoe as possible. So, in that sense, his value depreciates by the day.
In the end, there will probably be a compromise, and Bledsoe will get traded. This angling is an early step.