Last offseason, the Suns were looking to rebuild and the Clippers wanted to add depth to make a run at the title. It made them perfect trade partners. In a deal that also involved the Milwaukee Bucks, the Clippers sent Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix in exchange for Jared Dudley (and Caron Butler, who they later traded to Milwaukee). Bledsoe showed his tantalizing talent in LA but the Clippers belong to Chris Paul, and as long as CP3 was around, Bledsoe would be a back-up who would eventually command a lot of money on the open market.
Well, we’re about to find out how much.
Bledsoe, who is just 24 years-old, will be a restricted free agent on July 1st. In his first season with the Suns, he played in just 43 games due to injuries, but put up career high averages across the board with 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.6 steals while shooting 47.7% from the field. Given his age, and the fact he is likely still yet to tap into his full potential, teams with cap space will be lining up to throw an offer sheet at the Suns guard. It’s possible Bledsoe could receive close to max dollars on the market.
General manager Ryan McDonough said yesterday, regarding the status of Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker, who is also a restricted free agent, ”We’ll try to do that as soon as possible and not let it get to the point where you’d have to get an offer and we’d match it.”
Assuming Bledsoe stays healthy, he and Goran Dragic form a dangerous backcourt that will help Phoenix that challenged for a playoff spot this season. As for the price of retaining a young guard on the rise? We’ll find out very soon.
Follow me on Twitter @steven_lebron