Eric Bledsoe is not happy with how his free-agency is shaping up. The former Kentucky Wildcats guard is becoming frustrated each passing day, as he remains unsigned up to this point of free-agency period.
Bledsoe, who is considered the best available talent on the free-agency market, believed the Suns are using restricted free-agency against him, preventing other teams to offer him a lucrative deal.
"First off I'm going to let my agent handle it," Bledsoe told WTVM of Birmingham, Alaba via Sporting News. "I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using a restricted free agent against me. But I understand that."
The Suns offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million deal, but the explosive guard reportedly wanted a bigger contract worth $80 million over five years.
According to sources, there are multiple teams - including contenders - interested in trading for Bledsoe, but the Suns have been adamant in their stance not to trade the player whom they acquired in a three-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns last summer.
With this situation, there are rumors that Bledsoe might accept a qualifying offer that pays him just $3.7 million but allowed him to become an unrestricted free-agent next season.
"The tricky part of restricted free agency comes when the alternate option for players is considered. A player can sign the one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent the following summer. For Bledsoe, the qualifying offer is $3.7 million," via Sporting News.
The Lakers have been in hot pursuit of Bledsoe, who averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 32 minutes a game last season. Sources indicated the purple-and-gold franchise is open to trading their no.7 overall pick Julius Randle, Jordan Hill, and a first-round pick they acquired from the Jeremy Lin trade with the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers have been angling to get a young player with All-Star potential, and insiders believed the franchise sees Bledsoe to be that kind of player.
With year one of Kobe Bryant's two-year, $48.5 million deal about to kick off next season, the Lakers don't have the financial flexibility to give Bledsoe a max contract if it's done in direct signing. However, the team can still give the guard a $20 million per year paycheck if it's worked in a sign-and-trade deal.
The Lakers have already acquired Lin, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis this offseason to give them a better chance in returning to the postseason next year. However, they would easily become a playoff contender if they can land Bledsoe.