What a long summer it has been for Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns. All off the reports on dissagreements, Bledsoe not being interested in Phoenix, the Suns using restricted free agency against Bledsoe and all of that other drama.
But it can all be put to bed as an agreement on a long-term contract has been reached.
Restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe has reached agreement with the Suns on a 5-year, $70M extension, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) September 24, 2014
Wojnarowski goes on to mention that there are no no options in the Bledsoe deal and it is a straight five year deal. The initial deal that the Suns proposed in July was a four-year, $48 million deal. Bledsoe was said to be seeking a five-year max offer worth in excess of $80 million.
“Lon, Ryan and the Suns have shown confidence in me, and I am looking to take that responsibility and help our team get better from last year and position ourselves to win an NBA championship,” said Bledsoe. “It’s why I came back to Phoenix. All summer, I knew that I really would be most comfortable coming back to Phoenix because of the great fans, my Suns teammates and our coaches. I am very happy it was able to work out this way.”
“We are thrilled Eric Bledsoe will be in a Phoenix Suns uniform for years to come,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Eric is one the most exciting and dynamic two-way players in the league. He played very well for us on both ends of the floor last season and we feel he is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the elite players in the NBA.”
As a result, both parties looked to have budged off their number which they held true to over the duration of the summer however it looks as if the Suns have moved up their number substantially. If Bledsoe and the Suns were not able to reach an agreement and no other NBA team was able to sign him to an offer sheet, he would have signed the Suns offer sheet as a restricted free agent which would have been around $3.7 million to play his final season under contract with Phoenix before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
“I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter how stormy the sea is as long as the ship comes in and today we are thrilled that the ship has come in and Eric will remain a Sun for a long time,” said President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “He will be an integral part not only of our basketball team, but our Phoenix community.”
With the Suns now signing Bledsoe to this major deal, he will now be one of the main pieces and faces of the franchise for years to come. This all with Goran Dragic due to have new contract talks beginning by the end of next season before he becomes a restricted free agent. If he plays remotely close to how he played last season being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, you have to think he will be in pursuit of an Eric Bledsoe-type number as well.
Will the Suns look to have that much money tied up in their starting back-court? That will be the question over the course of the 2014-15 season.