Eric Bledsoe has kicked off his inaugural campaign as a full-time starter in Phoenix with a bang, averaging 21.0 PPG, 7.2 APG, 5.0 RPG, 1.8 SPG in 33.8 MPG, and helping the Suns to a 3-2 record after five games. The 4th year veteran is set to become a restricted free agent next summer after failing to land an extension last week, and while some may be worried that this potentially means a short tenure for Bledsoe in Phoenix, GM Ryan McDonough was openly optimistic about being able to re-sign him (Adam Green of Arizona Sports, hat tip to Burns and Gambo of Arizona Sports 620):
“I feel very confident that he’s going to be a Sun long-term…We negotiated with Eric and his agents. I think the contract situation was handled very professionally on both ends…We can match any offer to Eric next summer…Another advantage would be we have an extra year to play with. Other teams who are making Eric an offer can offer him four years, we can offer him up to five if we chose to do so…So there’s some inherent advantages that I just mentioned, also we can give higher percentage increases than another team could give Eric in a contract.”
Here are some more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
- Looking into Lance Stephenson‘s comments that he thinks the Pacers would “do anything” to keep him in Indiana for the long term, Candace Buckner of IndyStar.com (along with USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt) explores how the 23-year-old shooting guard could be positioning himself for a five-year max deal next summer. While I’m not too sure about labeling Stephenson as a max-level player at this point, if he can maintain his current averages of 16.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 47% shooting from the field, he should draw some very lucrative offers next July.
- Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post notes how the Nuggets’ plans to recruit Kyle Korver this past summer led to nothing more than brief contact because of the massive turnover that had been going on within the front office and coaching staff. Korver would eventually re-sign with the Hawks.
- The Thunder have hired former Raptors vice president and assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini in a senior adviser/international affairs position, according to Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK.