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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Phoenix makes Bledsoe decision

There’s no doubt Eric Bledsoe is a vital player the Phoenix Suns need in order to succeed in the foreseeable future. According to multiple reports, Phoenix and Bledsoe agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal on Wednesday, ending a contract stalemate that looked irreparable at times.

In coming to an agreement, Bledsoe lowered his demands from his original five-year, $80 million max-contract demands, and Phoenix increased its offer from four years and $48 million.
How is it that Phoenix changed its stance so drastically after standing pat all offseason on that $48 million offer? Well, mainly two things.

First, the Minnesota Timberwolves attempted to execute a sign-and-trade for Bledsoe about a week ago. The T-Wolves planned to offer him a max-contract in the range of four years, $63 million, but didn’t have the cap space to sign Bledsoe outright. Therefore, a sign-and-trade was Minnesota’s only option.

Minnesota has a few high-ceiling young prospects that Phoenix surely would’ve loved to acquire, but it was obvious that neither Andrew Wiggins nor Zach LaVine would be included in any potential deal. Not surprisingly, reports out of Phoenix had the organization declining all interest in a sign-and-trade with Minnesota.

Luckily for the Suns, Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough is way too smart to deal Bledsoe for anything less than an all-star caliber player or a future franchise cornerstone. However, there was finally a second bidder for Bledsoe’s services.

Second, a new league-wide television rights deal is coming around 2016, and the salary cap is going to increase significantly. According to a CBS Sports report, the NBA is expected to more than double the current $930 million television rights deal.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the salary cap raised $20 million from the current $63.065 million level in a handful of seasons.

From Phoenix’s perspective, the influx of cash will make it easier to keep Bledsoe at the $70 million deal and still have room to improve the team accordingly. When you factor in Bledsoe’s projected career arc and the NBA’s copious amounts of point guard talent, it could actually be a bargain.

Especially when you consider point guards such as Kyle Lowry, who’s serviceable but not great, get deals with an average annual value around $12 million.

There are currently 13 point guards with base salaries over $10 million next season, more than any other position other than center. But centers are overpaid, anyway — you know the whole you-can’t-teach-height model. How else would a Shaqtin’ A Fool legend like JaVale McGee have a 2014-15 base salary over $11 million?

Essentially, point guard salaries are increasing as organizations find out it’s tough to win many games without an all-star-caliber point guard. That is if you don’t have a LeBron James or Kevin Durant type player on your team, which happens to be true for 28 NBA teams.

Bledsoe’s deal could have gone up in the hundreds of millions if the team waited, so it looks like Phoenix made the right deal.
This could easily turn into a Stephen Curry-type situation where injuries scarred but did not stop the organization from extending a young player with all-star potential. If that is the case, Phoenix will be in good shape for the next five years or so.

Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter @HouseofPayne555

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