Eric Bledsoe: What Happened?

Very few people actually expected Chandler Parsons to change teams this NBA offseason. The Houston Rockets kept saying from the start of free agency that regardless of what contract offer was thrown his way, no matter how lucrative, they would match it. The thought process behind that was after so many seasons of being grossly underpaid — a result of him falling into the 2nd round of the draft — having to pay a little more than the going rate to keep him around for the next few seasons was not that big of an issue. They were looking to add another “star player” to their teams core and it seemed as if they considered Parsons to be the man for the job.

Nonetheless, the Dallas Mavericks were not phased by the Rockets fighting warning to other NBA teams. Even though there was a strong chance the Rockets would do whatever they could do to keep Parsons around, they went for it, putting a generous deal worth forty-five million dollars over three years on the table, and sure enough, at the last minute, the Rockets decided that Parsons wasn’t worth the money. It shocked everybody, including Parsons himself — in an interview on KESN-FM 103.3, he stated he was appalled that they did not view him as a star player, but fortunately for him, the Mavericks did and know he’s getting paid like one.

The lesson to be learned in all of this is that teams bluff. They state things that they may not actually follow through on. In the case of Parsons, they appeared ready to match anything, but when that forty-five million dollar offer sheet landed on their desk, they were not ready to add that to their payroll. For that reason alone, it is mind boggling that nobody has attempted to lure Eric Bledsoe away from the Phoenix Suns. And at this point, it may be too late.

The Phoenix Suns made it clear right from the beginning of free agency to every team around the league: do not waste your time attempting to sign Bledsoe because you will not get him. As luck would have it for the Suns, their bully tactic worked, even though Bledsoe declined their four-year offer of forty-eight million dollars. Weeks after the big names have been taken off the free agency board, Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe are the only two remaining that have the potential to make an enormous impact on any NBA team. All the same, in the case of Bledsoe, he’s failed to obtain an offer from any other NBA team because, they’ve all been frightened away from doing so. Since the Phoenix Suns are – purportedly – intent  on matching whatever is thrown his way, there is no use in wasting their time and resources to try and woo him. Even so, as we have seen with Parsons, occasionally it pays to take a leap of faith.

The problem for Eric Bledsoe now is this far into the offseason, the free agent market has dried up. The lone team that can afford to give him what he wants — Bledsoe has said that he wants a maximum contract, which would be worth $80 million over five seasons if he stayed with the Suns — is the Philadelphia 76ers, yet seeing as they are stuck on their ways, attempting to lose as many basketball games as humanly possible, it is improbable they will hand over the money to acquire him. So that is why Bledsoe seems to be doomed to stay in Phoenix at this point, which is outstanding news for the Suns because they will get him on a discount.

There is a chance Bledsoe accepts the $3.7 million qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and test free agency again next offseason, but the guarantee of forty-eight million dollars might be too impressive to turn down, even if it isn’t precisely what he wants. Nevertheless, it’s not entirely rosy for the Phoenix Suns. According to some online reports, the relationship between them and Bledsoe at this point are practically irreparable. Even if that does mean they get him on a discount, it does not seem to bode well for their future.

Chandler Parsons and Eric Bledsoe came into the offseason in a similar situation, but it seems they will be ending it on different terms. Parsons had been upset that the Rockets did not value him like he initially believed they did, but he is still going to a title contending team and is being valued as a key piece in their success. As for Bledsoe, he is walking away with his tail between his legs, frustrated that nobody has offered him the money he had anticipated and furious at the Phoenix Suns for scaring away all the other interested teams.

The only difference between their situations, really, is that someone called the Rockets’ bluff and constructed a contract that would be tough for them to match.

A team probably could have easily done that for Bledsoe. Now, it is probably too late.

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