4:53pm: The Suns have no interest in a sign-and-trade deal with Minnesota, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. According to Wojnarowski’s sources the Suns are only interested in trading Bledsoe for an All-Star, or a potential All-Star player, and had only considered Kevin Love in a possible sign-and-trade scenario with the Wolves.
3:53pm: The Suns own the Wolves’ 2015 first-round pick but it’s top-12 protected. Removing or reducing the protection could be a part of the Bledsoe talks, tweets Windhorst.
3:25pm: The Wolves are offering Eric Bledsoe a four-year, $63MM maximum level contract, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The offer turns up the heat on the Suns, who have offered the restricted free agent a four-year, $48MM deal. The Wolves don’t have the necessary cap room to sign the guard outright, so they’d have to swing a sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported yesterday that the Wolves were still in talks with the Suns on a sign-and-trade deal even after the completion of the Kevin Love deal. The possibility of the Wolves making a play for the 24-year-old seemed somewhat remote after Love was shipped to the Cavs, but it’s now very much a reality.
While the Suns and the Rich Paul client have been in a stalemate this summer, Phoenix was reportedly willing to dial up their offer if necessary. An increase of roughly $15MM probably wasn’t what they had in mind, however. Bledsoe’s camp made it known to Phoenix and every other team that he was only interested in signing a max contract. Otherwise, he said he was prepared to sign a one-year, $3.7MM qualifying offer with the Suns that would enable him to become an unencumbered free agent next summer. Fellow restricted free agent Greg Monroe made the same threat to the Pistons and made good on his promise earlier this summer.
In a sign-and-trade deal, the Suns would want Andrew Wiggins, according to Wolfson (on Twitter). That’s less-than-preferable for the Wolves, however, and that wouldn’t be a match, according to Wolfson. This is purely speculative, but since the Wolves were entertaining a Love-for-Bledsoe swap and Wiggins was the primary haul of the Love deal with Cleveland, it’s seems possible that the Wolves would consider including the No. 1 overall pick.
The Suns obviously want to keep Bledsoe (at the right price) but they would still have a very strong backcourt without the Kentucky product. The Suns have a highly-talented guard in Goran Dragic and the addition of free agent guard Isaiah Thomas on a four-year, $27MM deal would also lessen the sting. Phoenix also has first-round guard Tyler Ennis in reserve.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points and 5.5 assists across 43 games for the Suns last season after being traded from the Clippers. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury which cost him a good chunk of his 2013/14 campaign.
Jude LaCava of FOX 10 in Phoenix (on Twitter) first reported that the Wolves were prepared to offer Bledsoe a max deal.
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