For the Phoenix Suns, there are many reasons the franchise currently holds leverage over current restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, but none may be bigger than their bite-size off-season addition to the roster in Isaiah Thomas states Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports as he discussed the free-agency dilemma of Bledsoe in a radio interview.
Wojnarowski said the Suns’ offseason signing of point guard Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game last season with the Sacramento Kings, was for “insurance and protection” in case they aren’t able to come to terms with Bledsoe.
“I do think the plan was that Thomas would play with Bledsoe and be a sixth man, and would certainly play a significant role,” he said. “But they’ve got an insurance policy with him there now…”
With Thomas in the picture, there is no immediate need for Bledsoe to return to the roster as the Suns possess a player who can step into his place seamlessly. Bledsoe is the superior player and possess a higher ceiling than Thomas, but in Jeff Hornacek’s optimal offense, Thomas could produce similar numbers to last season–20.3 points on 45/35/85 shooting splits, 6.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
Of course, if it was up to Phoenix, they’d rather have Bledsoe back in place alongside Goran Dragic in the starting lineup with Thomas as the sixth man giving them one of the best point guard rotations we’ve seen in the NBA for some time.
But there’s no guarantee he’ll be back, so they’ve secured themselves with a healthy alternative in case Bledsoe is elsewhere by November. The Suns front office is one again proving they’re one of the best in the business.