By: Kayla Mortellaro
Relationships run through various cycles featuring good-times and bad. And like most relationships, both parties have to access when the bad just isn’t going to get any better.
For the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe, it may be time to call it quits.
The Phoenix point guard is coming off a break-thru 2013-2014 campaign even though he saw limited action. Bledsoe suffered a sprained knee on Dec. 30, 2013 and needed surgery to repair the torn cartilage on Jan. 10, 2014. In his 43 games played, Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points on 47 percent from the field, 77 percent from the free throw line and 35 percent from behind the arc. But more importantly, he returned to the Suns starting line-up as the team was making a late-season playoff push. The Suns eventually fell just short, finishing ninth in the Western Conference division, but won an impressive 48 games, well above the pre-season projection.
Bledsoe, is a restricted free-agent and has expressed his desire to receive an $80 million max-contract from the Suns. Ryan McDonough and the Suns front office have offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million offer; which he quickly declined. Just last week, Bledsoe said at a street ball tournament in Birmingham, Ala.,
“I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using restricted free agency against me.”
With a month already passed from the start of the NBA free agency period, Bledsoe is in fact absolutely correct. The Suns, as of right now, aren’t willing to give the injury-prone point guard a max deal and other teams aren’t rushing to give Bledsoe what he wants either.
The Suns have even used the off season to improve their back-court talent by signing restricted free-agent Isiah Thomas to a four-year, $28 million deal. Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game last season with the Sacramento Kings.
The back-court under head coach Jeff Hornacek now has returning guard Goran Dragic, Thomas, newly drafted point guard Tyler Ennis, second year player, Archie Goodwin, Gerald Green and veteran Leandro Barbosa.
From a logistical stand-point, is there even room for Bledsoe on this roster? And from a personnel stand-point, is it a good idea to bring back a player who feels disrespected by the organization?
The Phoenix Suns are poised to make another run this season. They are entering with good vibes, chemistry and a common goal. If one player is upset over contract negotiations, it could poison what Hornacek and the Suns have worked so hard on and off the court to achieve.
Don’t let Bledsoe become a distraction to the team or hit unrestricted free agency next season. Instead, trade him to get some value back, and try to improve other positions on the court, allocate money to multiple players and keep the positive winning momentum.