According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Phoenix Suns are meeting with restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas Thursday:
Restricted free agent guard Isaiah Thomas visiting Suns today, sources tell Yahoo. Suns looking to build on deep backcourt.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2014
Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor last season with the Sacramento Kings. Though he had a breakout season, his defense was a concern for the Kings and by signing Darren Collison to the full mid-level exception for three-years and $16 million. Sacramento is unlikely to match another team’s offer for Thomas, since all signs from the current market indicate some team will be giving him a pretty lucrative offer.
And that’s why this meeting is somewhat perplexing for the Suns, even if their backcourt wasn’t already so stacked. Thomas isn’t good enough to start over Dragic or Bledsoe, but he’s too talented to be the Suns’ sixth man and backup point guard. He’d also likely be way overpaid for such a role, especially since it’s going to take a big offer to pry him away from the Kings.
This news could just be due diligence of the Suns meeting with the best available free agents as the entire league continues to wait on the free agency decisions of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. It could also just be insurance in case the Suns aren’t prepared to match a max offer to their restricted free agent. But it could also be the first step in a potential Eric Bledsoe trade. The Suns front office has been vocal about wanting to re-sign Bledsoe and wanted to try and work on a contract extension before free agency started.
Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean Suns are looking to sign Thomas. Could just be exploring options in case the right deal happens. — Sean Sullivan (@SeanSullivanNBA) July 10, 2014
But no deal has been worked out yet and Bledsoe is sure to start receiving max offers (or at least something close to a max) once the LeBron and Melo dominoes fall. The Milwaukee Bucks have already been mentioned as one team interested in giving Bledsoe a max offer sheet and they certainly won’t be the only ones.
The Dragic and Bledsoe backcourt was awesome to watch last season when Bledsoe was actually healthy, but the Suns might be worried about his second meniscus tear in the last three years (in the same knee, no less). However, the potential is there, as Bledsoe had a breakout season and averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. The Suns were 28-15 in Bledsoe’s 43 games.