The Phoenix Suns and guard Eric Bledsoe, acquired this summer in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, were unable to reach an extension agreement earlier this week. As such, Bledsoe will become a restricted free agent this summer, when the Suns will be at the mercy of any other team that wishes to extend their player an offer. Given that Bledsoe figures to be the Suns' best player and a potential star, it wouldn't be a huge shock to see them forced to match a max-level deal.
Based on the results of the Suns' second game of the season, the likelihood of that happening seems a bit higher. With mere seconds on the clock and the Suns locked in an 84-84 tie with the visiting Utah Jazz, Bledsoe went one-on-one at the top of the key against Gordon Hayward — another player who failed to reach an extension agreement — and rose up for a buzzer-beating three-pointer that went through the net with only 0.7 seconds on the clock. Hayward stepped out of bounds on Utah's last chance, and the Suns moved to a surprising 2-0 start with an 87-84 win.
Bledsoe was not stellar on the day (18 points on 6-of-15 shooting, six assists, five rebounds, and five turnovers), but these kinds of shots will continue to build his image and turn him into the sort of player teams break the bank to pay in free agency. It's a long season, of course. Yet, if two games have been any indication, the Suns may regret not locking him up before his value reaches its limit.
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(Video via EOB)
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