The Phoenix Suns made one of the biggest moves of the 2013 offseason when they acquired guard Eric Bledsoe from the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-way deal that sent draft picks from the Clippers to the Milwaukee Bucks and Bucks’ guard J.J. Redick to the Clippers in a sign-and-trade.
Unfortunately for Bledsoe, he missed 39 games. However, in the 43 games he played in, he was very good and helped the Suns finish 48-34, exceeding all expectations and just barely missing out on the postseason. Now, Bledsoe is looking to cash in as a restricted free agent.
Although the Suns are reportedly going to match any offer for Bledsoe, Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders believes the Lakers should do whatever they can to get Bledsoe to sign an offer sheet the Suns would have trouble matching.
As for the Lakers, if Melo were to pass, I honestly think going after a dynamic athlete and defender to place alongside Kobe is actually the smartest route. I know there was interest in Lowry, but clearly that wasn’t in the cards. While signs seem to point toward Phoenix matching any offer for Bledsoe, I’d try to make it a difficult decision by structuring a 3-year 32-36 million so that their cap hit was too much to match it without moving Goran Dragic. At the very least, you’ve made it a very tough decision and probably weaken the Suns by forcing their hands. If you do land him, while potentially overpaying if he winds up hurt again, you still leave yourself the option to dump him as an expiring contract after year two. I personally think he’s going to be something special as he continues to develop and refine his game, permitting him to rely less upon his athleticism.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 47.7% from the field, 35.7% from beyond the arc and 77.2% from the free throw line.