Suns owner Robert Sarver said the Suns are interested in negotiating a long-term contract with restricted free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic.
Bledsoe, 24, averaged 17.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists last season, the final year of a four-year, rookie-scale contract worth $7.4 million.
The 2010 first-round pick missed 33 games after undergoing knee surgery in January to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. The Suns were 19-11 at the time of Bledsoe's injury but finished the season with a 48-34 record, missing the playoffs.
The Suns and Bledsoe's camp have not found common ground in contract negotiations, according to multiple reports, with Phoenix presenting a four-year, $48 million offer and Bledsoe and agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini seeking a maximum contract. Sarver has described the Suns' reported four-year offer as "fair."
According to league sources, an “ominous development” has arisen with sides still “very far apart” in contract negotiations. It has even escalated to the point where the “relationship is on the express lane to being ruined,” a source with knowledge of the situation informed CSNNW.com.
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As a restricted free agent, Bledsoe can sign offer sheets with other teams. However, if he does sign with another team, Phoenix would have the option to match.
Coro writes that the possibility that Bledsoe "at this stage" would receive a suitable offer from another team is "extremely doubtful."
Bledsoe, who has said he believes the Suns are using restricted free agency "against" him, has until Oct. 1 to either agree to a new deal with Phoenix or sign a one-year, $3.7 million qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Eric Bledsoe is simply not a max deal player yet
On Monday's SI Now, Sports Illustrated senior writer Chris Mannix discusses the few options Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe has besides returning to the team.
- Chris Johnson