Eric Bledsoe said this weekend at an amateur basketball tournament in Alabama that he understands the Suns are "using restricted free agency against me," according to an interview of the 24-year-old posted by NBC Alabama.
Bledsoe has officially been a restricted free agent since the period began July 1. In making those comments, he's alluding to the fact that he realizes the Suns hope another team gives him a four-year max offer sheet so Phoenix can have the three-day window to match it. This scenario would mean Phoenix would not have to move forward with a five-year max deal to keep him in Phoenix, something that he and his agent, Rich Paul, are reportedly pushing for at this point. The Suns are looking to offer him a four-year deal worth $48 million but Bledsoe is reportedly seeking a five-year max deal at $80 million.
In 43 games last season for the injury-riddled star, Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points on 47 percent shooting, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals for an overachieving Suns team that narrowly missed the postseason under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek.
- Marc Weinreich