NBA free-agency tracker:

Phoenix Suns: Taking It Slow With Eric Bledsoe's Contract and Superstar Status

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | As the deadline came and went with no contract extension for Eric Bledsoe, it felt natural to feel a little disappointed that the Phoenix Suns couldn't come up with a package that satisfied him.

Upon further review and in talking to the parties involved, not only does it make sense, but it was also the right move for both parties.


Going from the contending Los Angeles Clippers to the rebuilding Suns requires an adjustment for anyone, much less a player that is getting their first opportunity to be a full-time starter. From Bledsoe's standpoint, there's no rush to sign an extension. Bledsoe would be taking a risk by signing an extension now, because his leverage would quickly dissipate.

The risk of sustaining a major injury that would potentially cost Bledsoe millions is much less than the potential loss of salary that he would incur if he signed for less than his true market value.

We can't expect Bledsoe to average 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists and one steal per game for the entire season. With that said, Bledsoe showed what kind of dynamic player he's capable of being. Why would he sign now, when those kinds of numbers will drive his value up exponentially once he becomes a free agent?


It's obvious that the Suns are fully aware of Bledsoe's potential. They traded for Bledsoe because they believed in him. They've tried to extend him as soon as possible because they believe in his development and believe his value will skyrocket.

Still, the Suns also have to be completely sure before committing that kind of money to a player who has played one game for their franchise. They have to be sure that Bledsoe is a solid fit on the court and off the court.

Lon Babby is the president of basketball operations for the Suns, and he is fully aware of the potential cost the Suns may incur if Bledsoe keeps developing.

"I don't have a problem giving Eric fair market value (next summer)," Babby said during Friday's shootaround. "Because that means he's turned into a superstar."


Babby acknowledged that he, Bledsoe and general manager Ryan McDonough have been talking about the extension for a few weeks now. Both parties are in full agreement that they want to do what's best for the long-term health of the Suns as a franchise and Bledsoe as a player.

Waiting was the right move. They both need a strong foundation before committing. As a restricted free agent, Bledsoe is going to get fair market value, but the Suns are going to be able to retain his rights and match any offer. They can spend this season building a relationship and, ideally, Bledsoe becomes a star, the Suns extend a max contract and everyone's happy.

Michael Dunlap covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments