Minnesota Timberwolves Offer Eric Bledsoe Max Contract
Finally, there is a breakthrough in the Eric Bledsoe impasse.
Making a late push
After getting Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus young in the Kevin Love trade last month, the Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to further strengthen their new young core by making a late push to land Phoenix Suns’ free agent guard Eric Bledsoe. Sources tell ESPN.com that the Wolves have offered a four-year $63M deal to the 24-year old Birmingham, Alabama native.
Bledsoe and the Suns have been in a stalemate the entire summer after the Suns offered the four-year guard a four-year $48M contract last July. Bledsoe rejected the offer and instead asked for a max deal. Bledsoe is the last remaining big name free agent who remains unsigned with a couple of weeks to go before training camp.
Prepared to move on
When talks between Bledsoe and the Suns fell apart, Phoenix signed free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas to a four-year $27M deal after drafting guard Tyler Ennis in June. The addition of these two guards was seen as a sign that Phoenix was already preparing to move on without Bledsoe. What looks to be undecided right now is how he will leave.
If Bledsoe signs the $3.7M one-year qualifying offer, the Suns would lose the ability to control his destiny as he will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But if the Suns find themselves a perfect dancing partner, like what the Wolves are trying to do, they can move Bledsoe and get compensation rather than let him walk away in the free agency next June.
This is the second time this summer that the Timberwolves have coveted Bledsoe. Before Kevin Love was traded to the Cavaliers, the Wolves also talked to the Suns about a possible deal involving Love and Bledsoe. Although no formal offers were made at that time, Minnesota sees Bledsoe as a future star. In their current offer, sources say that the team likes the idea of pairing him with their new franchise player, Andrew Wiggins. That duo would form a dynamic and explosive backcourt combination that could lead the team in the future.
However, with the current salary cap structure of Minnesota, the only way Bledsoe can join the team is via a sign and trade deal. There were no names or packages mentioned by the team.
Bledsoe has career averages of 8.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. But he had a strong 2014 season with Phoenix as he averaged 17.7 points and 5.5 assists after being traded from the Clippers. He played just 43 games last season after suffering a meniscus tear in his right knee at mid-season but made a successful return.
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