This NBA offseason has been yet another example of the perils of restricted free agency, and until now, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe seemed like the biggest victim. That has changed a bit, as he’s now signed a five-year, $70 million contract.
That new contract is much closer to what he was asking than what the Suns were initially offering him. Chris Broussard reported that Bledsoe wanted the max, which was 5 years for $80 million.
Sources: Suns offered Eric Bledsoe 4-year, $48 million contract. Bledsoe wants max of 5 years, $80 million. Sides far apart
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 17, 2014
Considering this process almost reached the point where Bledsoe signed a minimum qualifying offer, there’s got to be a lot of relief here, on both sides. Had he signed the $3.7 million qualifier, he would’ve been making a far cry below the $14 million he’s set to average thanks to this deal.
Hopefully Suns fans will be able to forgive the long process and not be too hard on Bledsoe. Earlier in the year, our John Slaybaugh wrote about how Bledsoe had become the victim of a good share of unfair bashing, from media and fans alike. Still, I do think that the Suns are overpaying here.
Bledsoe had his best season last year, averaging 17.7 points and 5.5 assists. But even with that, he was nowhere near the best point guard on his team (obviously Goran Dragic) and with the offseason signing of Isaiah Thomas, he may not be second best anymore. On top of that, they drafted Tyler Ennis. While Ennis won’t be better than Bledsoe this year, he’s got some serious potential and could be a major contributor long before Bledsoe’s five year deal is up. Then you have to take into account Bledsoe’s health. He’s had some major meniscus injuries, and while players have bounced back from that with almost no problems before, there’s never any guarantee.
Signing Bledsoe means this team has a much better chance of making the playoffs this year, but at best they’re still only a six seed. If he blossoms into the player Phoenix is hoping for, he’ll help their chances for a long time, making this deal more than worth it. On paper though, it seems like a bold move.