5:42pm: The Suns’ current offer to Bledsoe is four years, $48MM, tweets Broussard, who adds that the point guard is insistent on a max offer of five years, $80MM.
10:40am: The Suns are offering Eric Bledsoe much less than the maximum salary he’s likely seeking as the team and agent Rich Paul aren’t moving anywhere close to agreement on a new contract for the restricted free agent, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Phoenix’s insistence that it will match any offers for Bledsoe has effectively deterred would-be suitors, as Broussard details. The Suns have so far refused to discuss sign-and-trade scenarios, but rival teams nonetheless continue to believe the Suns would trade him, given Phoenix’s acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and decision to draft Tyler Ennis. Both are point guards, like Bledsoe.
The Bucks had reportedly been pursuing Bledsoe earlier this month, and while it seems they discussed an offer sheet with him, it isn’t clear whether they’re still in the mix nearly two weeks later. Broussard makes mention of the Bucks in his story, and he also points to the Rockets and Kings as teams in need of a point guard, but it appears as though there’s no sign of legitimate interest from either Houston or Sacramento.
The Jazz had reportedly been preparing to make an offer to Bledsoe, but they’ve largely exhausted their cap flexibility on new deals for Gordon Hayward and Trevor Booker. Some around the league apparently believed Rich Paul’s meetings with teams interested in LeBron James were geared more toward selling those clubs on Bledsoe. The Cavs, Mavs, Lakers and Bulls were among the teams that reportedly met with Paul.
It’s not uncommon for negotiations to become drawn out between marquee restricted free agents and their incumbent teams. The Timberwolves and Nikola Pekovic didn’t reach agreement until August 14th last year. Bledsoe is the top restricted free agent on the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings.