Phoenix Suns’ guard Eric Bledsoe and Detroit Pistons’ big man Greg Monroe are two of the NBA’s better young players, which is why it seems strange both restricted free agents remain on the market. Monroe has reportedly decided to sign the Pistons’ qualifying offer. He’ll play at a smaller salary this year in order to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders believes Monroe’s decision may influence Bledsoe to do the same.
The question now is whether Bledsoe will have the gumption to follow Monroe’s lead on this. It is, after all, extremely rare for a player to take the QO rather than the guaranteed money that an extension would provide, but the path for Bledsoe is a little bit stickier. Not only is he less proven than Monroe, but he has a more checkered injury history, and that on its own is more than enough reason for him to cave and take the Kyle Lowry money he’s being offered by the Suns. Even Phoenix’s great training staff can’t guarantee the kid’s health. It’s hard to see him passing up the cash, though it’s certainly not unrealistic for him to take the same route as Monroe.
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 last season. Monroe put up 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 49.7% from the field and 65.7% from the free throw line last season.
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