The Los Angeles Lakers' pursuit of Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe won't end this offseason, as they are set to make another run for the explosive combo guard when he's expected to become a free-agent next season.
According to ESPN's NBA insider Chris Broussard, the 24-year old Bledsoe is leaning towards accepting a qualifying contract from the Suns worth $3.7 million after both parties failed to come up with a contract extension.
"Chris Broussard: Looking like qualifying offer. Relationship with Phoenix going n wrong direction," the analyst stated during his chat session on Twitter.
Reports indicated Bledsoe rejected the Suns' four-year, $48 million deal and wants a max contract worth $83 million over five years. The Suns management is reportedly unwilling to work on a sign-and-trade deal for Bledsoe despite Milwaukee Bucks' pursuit of acquiring the talented guard.
Bledsoe even showed his displeasure on the Suns management, accusing them of using his restricted free-agency against him.
Many executives in the league believed the Suns made a reasonable contract offer for Bledsoe, whose durability is in question after tearing his MCL in last year's campaign. However, Bledsoe and his camp wanted no less than a max deal or else he may opt out to accept the qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free-agent the following season.
According to Sports Illustrated Fan Sided reporter Chris Walton, Bledsoe's decision to accept a one-year qualifying offer would bode well for the Lakers, as the franchise need to fill an expected void at the point guard spot.
"The news on Eric Bledsoe is great for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers. Having been linked to Bledsoe this summer, the Lakers have the chance to offer him the contract that he is seeking (although they can't offer a five-year deal like the Suns)," Walton stated in his recent column.
"Next season, they will have only four players under contract (Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson). With a possible increase of cap room around $80 million, the Lakers should have around $20 million in cap space, enough for a max deal."
Bledsoe, who averaged career-highs 17.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds last season, could be up for the taking for the Lakers, if he then becomes a free-agent again in 2015.
However, for Bledsoe to land such a huge deal, he must prove that he's able to keep himself healthy and contribute consistently for the team in the long haul. In what could be the final season of Kobe Bryant in 2015-16 season, the Black Mamba would really need a talented sidekick in the backcourt. Bledsoe can certainly play that role.
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