When Eric Bledsoe was backing up Chris Paul in Los Angeles, he was seen as an energy guy, and he played well enough to receive more minutes. Vinny Del Negro was sporadic with his minutes, and the Clippers finally traded Bledsoe to the Suns for Jared Dudley (three team deal) in the off-season. They were smart to move him, as his value was high, and there were a lot of teams who were salivating over his services.
Now, he is getting his chance in Phoenix, and he is looking like a budding star. Bledsoe is currently averaging 18 points and 5.8 assists for the Suns, and he is earning himself a big contract. He will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Suns are planning on opening the checkbook to keep him. According to ESPN LA, that’s exactly what GM Ryan McDonough is planning to do:
“Obviously we don’t have a whole lot of money committed for the future, we don’t have a lot of long-term contracts on our books. So we’ll have no problem stepping up and paying Eric whatever it takes to keep him.”
Whatever it takes?
“Correct,” McDonough said. “Any reasonable offer.
“We have some advantages. We’re able to give him another year, five instead of four if we choose. We’re able to give him higher-percentage increases than other teams too. And then if another team does make an offer, we can always match that. So we feel like we’re holding the cards with Eric, and more importantly, I think Eric’s had a good experience here so far. He’s played well and the team has played fairly well. I think he kind of likes what we’re doing.”
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, and the Suns will be able to keep him. They will probably let someone determine the market for him, and he will most likely sign an offer sheet for another team–and the Suns will match it. Many teams wish they could sign him, but that’s the way restricted free agency works.
Ryan McDonough has done a great job for the Suns, and they are currently 19-11 on the season.