Eric Bledsoe remains the top free agent on the market and the restricted star is likely to sign back with the Phoenix Suns, but if the team opts to make a trade, teams like the LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers could be in the mix, as Bledsoe is a top talent and he has not been able to come to an agreement with his team this summer.
According to ESPN.com, the Suns and Bledsoe have not yet been able to come to an agreement on a contract and that could lead to a trade or Bledsoe signing a one year qualifying offer. PBT reports that Bledsoe's agents have started looking at trade deals and the team itself has also explored some options, including trying to jump into the Kevin Love trade talks late. Earlier in the offseason the Lakers expressed interest in making a deal with Bledsoe, but if they gave him an offer sheet it would have prevented them from signing Carlos Boozer and other players. The Lakers knew that the Suns likely would match, so they opted to continue building their roster instead.
The Suns reportedly have offered Bledsoe four years and over $45 million, while Bledsoe is asking for five and nearly double that money. Bledsoe played in just 43 games last season and he was injured the year before that and while his talent is immense, he still has career averages of 8.7 points and 3.4 assists over four seasons. Dragic is coming off of a most improved player award season and he could be the key to what the team decides to do with Bledsoe.
Bledsoe had a strong season last year with the Suns despite missing time with injuries and he combined with Goran Dragic to have one of the best backcourts in the league. The team clearly doesn't want to trade Bledsoe, but right now they are looking at all options since the two sides are far apart in negotiations. The team wants to keep him after acquiring him from the Clippers, but after dealing with injuries in each of the past two seasons, Phoenix is not looking to go for a max deal and that is what Bledsoe is looking for.
Bledsoe is coming off of a strong season while averaging 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals, but the Suns have enough on their roster if they want to trade him. The team has Dragic on a team friendly deal that lasts into next season and they also drafted Tyler Ennis in the draft to join Archie Goodwin and Isaiah Thomas, who the team signed as a free agent. Thomas can easily take over for Bledsoe and he has shown that he is one of the top young players in the league.
Many teams will be interested in Bledsoe if he makes it to the free agent market and teams like the Lakers and Knicks will have money to spend if he hits the market again next summer. The team may trade him and another option would be to sign the one year qualifying offer and hope for the best for next summer, which is what Greg Monroe is reportedly doing.