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Mar 28, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) stands on the court during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at US Airways Center. The Suns won 112-88. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bledsoe's Dumb and Dumber, Sunny Negotiations

I’m not going to get into a tirade about how the NBA’s restricted free agency rules are asinine and end up handcuffing teams. I am, however, going to delve into the magical fantasy land that Eric Bledsoe (led by his agent, Rich Paul) have been living in this offseason. It’s equal parts Dumb and Dumber and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia with how these negotiations are proceeding.

Remember in the last scene of Dumb and Dumber, when the Hawaiian Tropics girls are looking for someone to oil up their bodies? After Harry (played by Jeff Daniels) sends the girls off to a town where they can find some boys to help with the task, Lloyd (Jim Carrey) realizes the error, screams at Harry “do you realize what you’ve done” and runs after the bus.

Out of breath, Lloyd explains in a conciliatory tone, “you’ll have to excuse my friend — he’s a little slow — the town is back that way.”

The Phoenix Suns are the beautiful women — the attractive team with what amounts to a dream offense for a guy like Bledsoe. Eric and his agent are like poor Harry and Lloyd — they think they’re doing the right thing by turning down  the four-year, $48 million deal because greater things are on the horizon.

“Why get $48 million when we could take $3.7 million without any real guarantees at all?”

Don’t get me wrong, Bledsoe is a very good talent. Take a look at the list of players who averaged 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season:

Totals Shooting Per Game
Rk Player Season Tm G MP FG% 2P% 3P% FT% PTS TRB AST STL WS
1 LeBron James 2013-14 MIA 77 2902 .567 .622 .379 .750 27.1 6.9 6.3 1.6 15.9
2 James Harden 2013-14 HOU 73 2777 .456 .515 .366 .866 25.4 4.7 6.1 1.6 12.8
3 Kyle Lowry 2013-14 TOR 79 2862 .423 .460 .380 .813 17.9 4.7 7.4 1.5 11.7
4 Russell Westbrook 2013-14 OKC 46 1412 .437 .482 .318 .826 21.8 5.7 6.9 1.9 5.2
5 Eric Bledsoe 2013-14 PHO 43 1416 .477 .517 .357 .772 17.7 4.7 5.5 1.6 4.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/6/2014.

That’s an awfully elite list. Going from a purely statistical standpoint, Lowry is the most comparable. For those who have forgotten, Lowry just signed a deal worth…you guessed it, $48 million over four years. Lowry didn’t have the knee surgery that forced Bledsoe to miss 39 games, either.

So, it’s looking possible that Bledsoe will accept the $3.7 million qualifying offer, rolling the dice on a body that’s already shown signs of wear at just 24 years old.

As Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic notes, “If he signed a maximum deal next summer, he would make up the coming season’s financial loss after the first three years. But that would require a maximum deal. Otherwise, he would be behind the Suns’ offer financially entering 2018-19.”

If Bledsoe and Paul go into that frame of mind (to accept the qualifying offer), they’re going into Mac and Charlie territory. Doesn’t it sound like the kind of Sunny thing to do — turn down the big money for the small money because then you can maybe get the big money later on?

The thought that other teams didn’t offer Bledsoe a max contract for fear that the Suns would match is as ridiculous as Mac believing he’s the “Sheriff of Paddy’s.”

When If this plan backfires, you can be certain Bledsoe will bow his head, and in the Sunny style, exclaim…

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Tags: Eric Bledsoe Phoenix Suns

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