The restricted free agency of Eric Bledsoe was always going to be a complicated object to tackle this offseason, but the Phoenix Suns have remained firm and straightforward on their approach: We’re going to re-sign him. We’re going to continue to pair him in the backcourt with Goran Dragic because it was entertaining as hell last season. And we’re going to pray his knees don’t go the way of Shaun Livingston circa 2007.
However, 18 days of free agency later and Bledsoe’s future is more uncertain now than it was three weeks ago. The Suns were adamant they were going to match any offer for their rising star, and that stance probably deterred a lot of teams from giving him the max offer sheet he’d command on the open market. But as we saw with Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons, some teams are bold enough to test the waters of restricted free agency.
Except no one wanted to test the waters with Bledsoe, a breakout performer who averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in his first season with the Suns and his first as an NBA starter. You’d expect a point guard with such athleticism, speed, defensive prowess and a well-rounded game in general to warrant a max offer from somebody, even with the Suns pledging to match. But it never happened.