Phoenix Suns Rumors

Suns Make Last-Minute Bledsoe-For-Love Offer

August 22 at 3:40pm CDT By Chuck Myron

3:40pm: The Wolves like Bledsoe, but they’re not nearly high enough on him to drop out of their deal to send Love to the Cavs, Krawczynski tweets.

3:20pm: The Suns reached out to the Wolves today to ask about the possibility that they could sign-and-trade Eric Bledsoe for Kevin Love, but Minnesota’s agreement to deal Love to the Cavs remains in place, report Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The trade that would send Love to Cleveland can become official as early as Saturday. The Suns have been feeling out their options for a Bledsoe sign-and-trade as negotiations with the point guard’s camp have ground to a standstill, and they’ve spoken with teams other than the Wolves, too, according to Windhorst and Shelburne.

Bledsoe has reportedly been holding out for a max deal from the Suns, and he wouldn’t accept any less in a sign-and-trade, sources tell the ESPN.com scribes. The point guard is insisting that either he receives a max deal or he’ll sign his qualifying offer and hit unrestricted free agency next summer, Windhorst and Shelburne write. Signing the qualifying offer would mean Bledsoe would be playing this coming season on a salary worth slightly more than $3.7MM, a drastic discount from the max or even the terms of the four-year, $48MM offer the Suns reportedly put on the table last month.

The Suns were one of the early teams in the mix for Love, and as recently as July 1st, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reported that Phoenix was expected to make a play for the power forward in case No. 1 target LeBron James went elsewhere. James agreed on July 11th to join the Cavs, but there’s been no further connection between the Suns and Love until today.

A dispatch from late last month indicated that the Suns had little interest in signing-and-trading Bledsoe, but that appears to have changed. Owner Robert Sarver said more recently that the team hadn’t heard directly from Bledsoe, a client of agent Rich Paul, in four months.

Suns Explore Eric Bledsoe Sign-And-Trade

August 22 at 2:01pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Suns have spoken with at least one team and fielded inquiries from others about the possibility of a sign-and-trade involving Eric Bledsoe, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes. That confirms a report from Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Phoenix, who spoke earlier this week on FoxSports 910 radio in Phoenix (transcription via Dave King of Bright Side of the Sun).

Phoenix brass never ruled out a sign-and-trade from the beginning of negotiations with Bledsoe last month, according to Coro, but the team remains adamant that it prefers to retain the point guard, Coro adds. The Bucks and Jazz were linked to pursuits of Bledsoe shortly after free agency began, though it’s not clear if the Suns have spoken with either of those clubs.

Progress toward a long-term deal that would keep Bledsoe in Phoenix has seemingly stalled since a report more than a month ago indicated the Suns were offering a four-year, $48MM arrangement while the Rich Paul client held out for the max. Still, the team has remained open to further negotiations on its offer to Bledsoe, Coro says.

At least one rival GM has expressed hesitance about the idea of signing-and-trading for Bledsoe, who’s reportedly giving strong consideration to signing his qualifying offer so he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Still, inking the qualifying offer would mean a drastically discounted salary of little more than $3.7MM for the coming season, and it’s a move no restricted free agent of his caliber has ever taken.

Bledsoe and the Suns nonetheless appear at loggerheads, with Bledsoe having accused the Suns of “using the rules against me,” while owner Robert Sarver said recently that the team hasn’t heard directly from the 24-year-old in four months. Multiple reports have indicated that there’s a worsening relationship between Bledsoe and the Suns, though Sarver indicated that there are no hard feelings from the team’s side.

And-Ones: Bledsoe, Monroe, Raptors, Gray

August 21 at 4:14pm CDT By Chuck Myron

An NBA GM who spoke with Sean Deveney of The Sporting News said he’d be reluctant to sign-and-trade for either Eric Bledsoe or Greg Monroe in part because of the chance they’ll become available again next summer. The GM also suggested that the Suns and Pistons are overvaluing them, further diminishing the odds of a trade this offseason. While we continue to wait to see what happens to the two top restricted free agents, here’s more from around the league:

  • When Tim Leiweke spoke about two months ago to the board of the company that controls the Raptors, he declined to promise that he would stay on as CEO past next spring, as Elliotte Friedman writes for CBC.ca. That helped lead to today’s announcement of his planned departure, Friedman explains. The Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment board wanted to take control of the process and end speculation about Leiweke’s future, as Friedman details, adding that Leiweke’s contract carried an escape clause that gave him a way out.
  • Aaron Gray‘s contract with the Pistons is for two years, with a player option for the final season, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reveals (Twitter link).
  • Joel Embiid is tight with Luc Mbah a Moute, notes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, and that helps explain why the Sixers appear poised to acquire Mbah a Moute as part of the Kevin Love trade (Twitter link). Mbah a Moute has served as a mentor for Embiid, a fellow native of Cameroon, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune points out (on Twitter).

Western Rumors: Suns, Durant, Jackson, Marion

August 19 at 8:15pm CDT By Charlie Adams

In spite of predicting that the NBA’s salary cap will approach $80MM in 2016/17, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders suggests in his weekly chat the Suns should refuse to give any current member of their core more than $12MM annually. While paying big money to guys like Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic would of course limit Phoenix financially, Kyler thinks the bigger reason the Suns should hold out is because of none of the young talent on Phoenix’s roster looks worthy of being paid along the lines of the league’s most skilled. More from out west..

  • Kevin Durant said the decision to withdraw from Team USA this summer was “definitely tough,” and the Thunder forward told reporters, including Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press, that he did it because he needed to “take a step back” and have a break this offseason.
  • Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman thinks it’s unlikely the Thunder will manage to reach an agreement on an extension with Reggie Jackson this fall. Tramel thinks the rewards of free agency will be enticing to Jackson, who we recently profiled in our Extension Candidate series.
  • After five strong seasons and an NBA title with the Mavericks, Shawn Marion is heading to Cleveland this season to join forces with LeBron James. However, Dallas GM Donnie Nelson doesn’t harbor any ill feelings toward the 36-year-old veteran, as Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram reveals in a series of tweets.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Marion, Barbosa, Curry

August 17 at 8:58am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Team USA defeated Brazil 95-78 in an exhibition game at the United Center last night. The game not only featured Derrick Rose returning to action on his home court, but also strong performances from the PelicansAnthony Davis and the RocketsJames Harden. Davis recorded 20 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, while Harden scored 18, along with five rebounds and five assists.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Clippers are now showing interest in Shawn Marion, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Spears adds that the Cavs, Pacers, and Heat remain interested in the small forward as well.
  • Leandro Barbosa has had discussions with a few NBA teams about a possible free agent deal, and is hoping to use the upcoming FIBA World Cup to further prove his health, writes Shams Charania of RealGM. Barbosa said, “I don’t know what owners think about the World Cup, but hopefully I do a great job over there and a team sees. I feel healthy and my body is feeling healthy. If I have free agency in my mind, I won’t be able to be myself on the court. Hopefully, I sign a contract and I’ll be happy.” Barbosa appeared in 20 games with the Suns last season, averaging 7.5 PPG, 1.9 PPG, and 1.6 APG, while playing 18.4 minutes a night.
  • In an interview with Beckley Mason of the New York Times, Warriors star Stephen Curry was asked about playing for yet another new head coach in Steve Kerr. Curry responded by saying, “This is one that I haven’t gone through before. This is my fourth coach going into my sixth year. Last three coaching changes, we were a bad team trying to become competitive. Now we have a lot of talent. Pretty much the same team back, with some additions, but a new coach. It’s a different experience. The expectations are already high, and we have to deal with that. Thinking about it, it will kind of be similar to last year. People thought we were a 50-win team, and we accomplished that, but it still didn’t feel like we accomplished as much as we should have. That’s basically the theme I have in my head thinking about what’s going to happen next year. Just in training camp, in that locker room, that adjustment with Coach Kerr and setting his system up. I think we’re going to be able to adjust well.”

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

Poll: Which Departures Will Teams Regret?

August 13 at 8:29pm CDT By Cray Allred

While many teams were spurned by their players for greener pastures despite their best efforts this offseason (the Heat by LeBron James, the Lakers by Pau Gasol, the Nets by Shaun Livingston) some teams decided not to up the ante when they could have, allowing key contributors to sign elsewhere. We’ll run down a few of the latter, and explore whether these teams will regret their decision:

  1. Lance Stephenson – from Indiana to Charlotte. Had Paul George‘s injury occurred before free agency, the Pacers might have been more willing to meet Stephenson’s demands. Instead, they let arguably their most versatile offensive piece walk, refusing to improve their five-year, $44MM offer before the combo guard signed with the Hornets for three years and $27.4MM. Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles are the incoming guards Indiana hopes can lessen the combined loss of Stephenson and now George. The Pacers also seeking Shawn Marion‘s services, but aren’t expected to win out over the Cavs in that pursuit.
  2. Chandler Parsons – from Houston to Dallas. The Rockets declined an option to retain Parsons for another season on one of the most team-friendly contracts in the league. The team decided to take their chances with the forward’s restricted free agency this summer rather than letting him hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, but ultimately decided against matching the Mavs’ three-year, $46.1MM offer sheet. The Rockets let Parsons go in part because they had already locked up Ariza, who is next on the list.
  3. Trevor Ariza – from Washington to Houston. Ariza bolted from the Wizards after turning in a career year for a team that advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Wizards were unwilling to increase their offer, which equaled Houston’s four-year, $32MM arrangement, but practically amounted to $3MM less due to differences in state taxes. Washington quickly signed Paul Pierce in the wake of Ariza’s departure, and received an exception by signing-and-trading Ariza that was partially spent on Kris Humphries.
  4. Channing Frye – from Phoenix to Orlando. In a surprise signing, the Magic snatched the sharp-shooting Frye away from the Suns, who wanted to bring him back to their surprise-playoff roster. Frye is one of a few bigs that stretch the floor at an elite level, and the team signed another shooter in Anthony Tolliver to make up for Frye’s loss. Orlando’s deal with the 31-year-old was for four years and $32MM.
  5. Isaiah Thomas – from Sacramento to Phoenix. The Kings didn’t see the scoring machine of a point guard in their future, signing Darren Collison while Thomas was still a restricted free agent. Thomas was one of only five players to average 20 PPG and 6 APG last season. Sacramento hasn’t recouped much scoring punch in free agency, but did acquire a $7.2MM trade exception, as well as the rights to Alex Oriakhi, by executing a sign-and-trade sending Thomas to Phoenix.

As with any transaction, these front offices weighed the immediate future against their long-term plans, and tried to make the wisest choice. It might be painful to lose some of these players in year one, but fans might breathe a sigh of relief if the same players are underperforming for their new teams in the future. Then again, a player could blossom into an even stronger producer, compounding any misgivings about the teams’ non-action. What do you think?

Pacific Rumors: Bledsoe, Tucker, Curry, Ballmer

August 12 at 10:15pm CDT By Charlie Adams

Although Steph Curry is heading into just the second season of a four-year, $44MM contract he signed with the Warriors, the All-star guard wouldn’t totally rule out making a jump to play for the Hornets one day when he spoke on The Dan Patrick Show, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group transcribes.

“I’ve always had thoughts about playing at home, what it would be like,” said Curry, who was raised in Charlotte. “My dad played there for 10 years… I love the Bay Area and where we are as a team trying to win a championship, and that’s what it’s all about. Of course everybody dreams about or thinks about what it’s going to be like to play at home. Obviously if that opportunity comes along it’s a different discussion.”

Here’s more insight from Curry, as well as a look at the latest from out west in tonight’s roundup of the NBA’s Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors refused to include Klay Thompson in negotiations for Kevin Love, and Curry doesn’t doubt the team’s judgement, as Leung details in a separate piece. “I think they made the right choice,” said Curry of the team’s decision to retain his fellow Splash Brother, “Me and him in the backcourt and core that we have, we’ve got a legit shot at winning the championship next year, and I’m ready to take that on.”
  • Eric Bledsoe is strongly considering taking the Suns‘ qualifying offer so he can enter unrestricted free agency next summer, hears Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, echoing a report from Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Greg Monroe is set to sign the Pistons’ qualifying offer, and Zillgitt explains why it might be wise for Bledsoe to follow suit.
  • P.J. Tucker‘s three-game NBA suspension for a DUI he got in May will cost the big man $155,455 in salary, tweets Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Tucker re-signed with the Suns on a three year deal worth $16.5MM in July.
  • It’s too early to discount the Suns’ playoff chances, says Greg Esposito of Suns.com, who looks over Phoenix’s roster and concludes that offseason acquisitions Isaiah Thomas and Anthony Tolliver will help further improve a Suns team that surprised pundits around the league last season with a 48-34 campaign.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today examines the path that led Steve Ballmer to become the new Clippers owner. Ballmer, a lifelong basketball fan, has drawn positive feedback from Los Angeles players and coaches, as Amick passes along.

And-Ones: Williams, Curry, Tucker

August 12 at 6:51pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Lou Williams believes he fits in better with the Raptors than he did with the Hawks and head coach Mike Budenholzer, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Williams expanded on his feelings, saying, “I am excited to a part of a young core, I am excited be on a team that wants me, that has a high expectation level for me. My time here in Atlanta, I realized that they were going in a direction that probably didn’t fit my style of play and I probably didn’t fit Coach Bud’s style of play. I’m a guy that needs the ball to be effective and they really didn’t need that from me. They were building a different core of a basketball team. I felt like it worked out for both sides, they got some talented guys in making moves this offseason and I feel great about the fit that I’m in.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The NBA has suspended Suns small forward P.J. Tucker three games without pay for pleading guilty to a DUI charge, the league announced (Twitter link; hat tip to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt).
  • Stephen Curry believes the Warriors chose wisely when they declined to part with Klay Thompson in exchange for Kevin Love, as he said Tuesday in an appearance on WFAN Radio in New York. Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group provides a transcription.
  • Curry was also asked on The Dan Patrick Show if LeBron James‘ decision to return home to Cleveland made him consider returning to his own hometown of Charlotte one day, notes Leung in a separate article. Curry’s response was, “I’ve always had thoughts about playing at home, what it would be like. My dad played there for 10 years, and people around the Greater Charlotte area in North Carolina have done a lot for my family growing up, so you always think about it. Right now I feel like I’ve got three years left on my deal, so this isn’t going to be an issue for me for a while. I love the Bay Area and where we are as a team trying to win a championship, and that’s what it’s all about. Of course everybody dreams about or thinks about what it’s going to be like to play at home. Obviously if that opportunity comes along it’s a different discussion.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Latest On Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe

August 12 at 10:07am CDT By Chuck Myron

Greg Monroe is “definitely” willing to take his nearly $5.48MM qualifying offer from the Pistons should it come to that, a source tells Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. He’s pursued sign-and-trade opportunities rather than offer sheets from other teams, the source also says to Goodwill. A sign-and-trade that would be amenable to all parties would dismiss the possibility that the Pistons would match a deal he inks with another team, and signing the qualifying offer would take Monroe to unrestricted free agency next summer.

Still, accepting the qualifying offer would be a drastic move. It would represent a steep one-year discount from the eight-figure salaries, perhaps in excess of $13.5MM, that Monroe would receive if he were to ink a long-term deal with the Pistons. The maneuver might backfire should Monroe become injured, but the 24-year-old has missed just one of his last 310 games, as Goodwill points out. Only 17 players have signed qualifying offers since rookie scale contracts came into being in the mid-1990s, and the most high-profile player to have done so was probably Ben Gordon, who took Chicago’s qualifying offer in 2008.

Goodwill’s source disputed the notion that he’s uninterested in returning to the Pistons, saying that the big man likes coach/executive Stan Van Gundy while cautioning that Monroe remains skeptical of Van Gundy’s vision for the team. The state of the relationship between Monroe and Bledsoe doesn’t sound quite as dire as the situation involving the Suns and Eric Bledsoe, as multiple reports have indicated that the point guard is souring on Phoenix.

“Maybe that’s just posturing and negotiating,” Suns owner Sarver said of the reports, in an interview with Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. “We haven’t heard from the guy in four months, so I couldn’t tell you. I do know that when he played here, he felt good about the organization, his coaching staff and his teammates at the end of the season. We had the same feelings toward him.”

The Suns reportedly extended a four-year, $48MM offer to Bledsoe, who appears to be holding out for the max, which would come to $84,789,500 over five seasons. Agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who represents Bledsoe, is also the rep for Kevin Seraphin, the most recent player to have signed a qualifying offer, having done so last month. Seraphin was nonetheless in a drastically different position, since he couldn’t have commanded much more.

Bledsoe, like Monroe, stands to forfeit a significant amount of his earnings for the coming season if he inks his qualifying offer of nearly $3.727MM. The guard missed significant time with a meniscus tear, so injury is ostensibly a greater concern than it would be for Monroe. The qualifying offer would be a sacrifice for either Bledsoe or Monroe, and while either of them could make up the money over the life of a long-term max deal if he were to wind up with one in unrestricted free agency next summer, that sort of deal is certainly no guarantee.

Poll: Will Eric Bledsoe Re-Sign With The Suns?

August 9 at 2:26pm CDT By Charlie Adams

At one point, it looked like a near certainty that Eric Bledsoe would end up with a lucrative long-term deal that would keep him in Phoenix. Suns management insisted that the team would match any offers that came the restricted free agent’s way, but thus far, no team has come forward and presented the talented young guard with an offer sheet.

This late into the offseason, there aren’t many teams who could even afford to make Bledsoe an offer he’d consider signing. The fifth-year guard is reportedly seeking a five-year, $80MM contract, but the Suns have apparently been reluctant to offer him any more than a four-year $48MM pact. That’s a pretty major discrepancy in both average annual value and total guaranteed money.

The max money contract that Bledsoe is seeking is raising tension between the two sides, and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reported that it’s looking likely Bledsoe will take Phoenix’s qualifying offer for $3.7MM. Doing so would allow him to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, but it would also mean accepting a steep discount in the interim.

The Bucks were one team said to have interest in Bledsoe, but they’d need to clear some cap space in order to give him the type of money he’s looking for. The Sixers possess the cap room to extend a max offer Bledsoe’s way, but they haven’t been reported to have any interest. If he is to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, he’s sure to draw serious attention from teams around the league; it’s just a question of whether or not he’s willing to take a pay cut in the meantime.

It’s getting pretty late into the summer, and it’s still not clear what’s going to happen. Do you think the two sides will eventually come to an agreement? Or is Bledsoe destined to take his qualifying offer and hit the open market next year? Vote below and share your thoughts in the comments section!