Looking to make a last-minute push before the Cleveland-Minnesota trade becomes official, the Phoenix Suns are trying to join the Kevin Love race, offering restricted free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe as bait according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne.
With just hours to go before a planned megadeal the would send Kevin Love to Cleveland, the Phoenix Suns reached out to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday to ask once more about the possibility of acquiring Love in a sign-and-trade for guard Eric Bledsoe, sources told ESPN.com.
It’s unclear why the Suns are just now making themselves a player in the Kevin Love race, a race many expect to be over as August 23rd ends the moratorium forced upon the Cleveland Cavaliers following 2014 number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins signing his rookie deal. Prior to the Wiggins inclusion, the biggest Kevin Love packages on the market were from Golden State (Klay Thompson, David Lee), Chicago (Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler), and Boston (future picks). Looking at what Eric Bledsoe has done in his career and what he’s expected to do in the next four or five years, it’s fair to proclaim him a better asset than any of the listed packages.
The turmoil between the Suns and Eric Bledsoe has brewed all summer. Bledsoe reportedly wants a maximum contract, five-year, $85 million according to ESPN, and the Suns want to re-sign Bledsoe on a comfortable deal similar to the four-year, $48 million deal Kyle Lowry signed with the Toronto Raptors this past summer. As the two sides fail to come to an agreement, it has been rumored that Bledsoe has considered accepting the Suns’ qualifying offer which would allow Bledsoe to test the free agent market unrestricted next summer, forcing the Suns out of a valuable asset. By trading Bledsoe now, it allows the Suns to get something in return for a top talent.
Unless Flip Saunders values Bledsoe over the expected package that’ll be received in the three-team trade between the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers (Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, MIA’s 2015 first-round pick), it looks like Phoenix’s shot in the dark will come up short and the prolonged free agency of Eric Bledsoe will continue.