Few expected Chandler Parsons to jump ship this offseason. Word coming from the Houston Rockets’ camp early on in the process was that no matter what offer was thrown his way, no matter how lucrative, they’d match it. The thought process behind that was after so many years of being underpaid — a result of him falling into the second round of the draft — reaching a little more into their pockets to keep him around for the next few seasons wasn’t that big of an issue. They were looking to add another “star” to their core and it appeared as though they saw Parsons as the man for the job.
Nevertheless, the Dallas Mavericks weren’t phased by the Rockets’ fighting words. Even though there was a strong chance the Rockets would do whatever they could to keep Parsons around, they went for it, putting a big deal worth $45 million over three years on the table, and sure enough, at the eleventh hour, the Rockets decided that Parsons wasn’t worth the money. It shocked everyone, including Parsons himself — in an interview on KESN-FM 103.3, he said he was offended that they didn’t view him as a star, but luckily for him, the Mavericks did and know he’s getting paid like one.
The lesson to be learned in all of this is that teams bluff. They say things that they might not actually follow through on. In the case of Parsons, they seemed ready to match anything, but when that $45 million offer sheet landed on their desk, they weren’t ready to add that to their books. For that reason, it’s mind boggling that nobody has attempted to lure Eric Bledsoe away from the Phoenix Suns. And now, it might be too late.
The Suns made it clear right from the get go to every team around the league: don’t waste your time trying to sign Bledsoe because you won’t get him. Luckily for them, their tactic worked, even though Bledsoe turned down their four-year offer of $48 million. Weeks after the big names have been taken off the free agency board, Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe are the only two left that have the potential to make a big time impact on a team. Nevertheless, in the case of Bledsoe, he has failed to receive an offer from any other team because, according to Comcast Sportsnet, they have all been scared away from doing so. Since the Suns are — supposedly — dead set on matching whatever is thrown his way, there’s no use in wasting their time and resources to try and court him. Yet, as we’ve seen with Parsons, sometimes it pays to take a leap of faith.
The issue for Bledsoe now is this far into the offseason, the market has dried up. The only team that can give him what he wants — Bledsoe has said that he wants a max contract, which would be worth $80 million over five seasons if he stayed with the Suns — is the Philadelphia 76ers, yet seeing as they’re stuck on their ways, trying to lose as many games as humanly possible, it’s unlikely they’ll fork over the money to get him. So that’s why Bledsoe appears to be destined to stay in Phoenix at this point, which is great news for the Suns because they’ll get him on a discount.
There’s a chance Bledsoe accepts the $3.7 million qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and test the market again next offseason, but the guarantee of $48 million might be too grand to turn down, even if it’s not exactly what he wants. However, it’s not all rosy for the Suns. According to Comcast Sportsnet, the relationship between them and Bledsoe at this point are practically irreparable. Even if that does mean they get him on a discount, it doesn’t bode well for their future.
Chandler Parsons and Eric Bledsoe came into the offseason in a similar situation but have walked away on different terms. Parsons was upset that the Rockets didn’t value him like he initially thought they did, but he’s still going to a title contending team and is being valued as a key cog in their success. For Bledsoe, he’s walking away with his tail between his legs, disappointed that nobody has offered him the money he was expected to garner and angry at the Suns for scaring everyone off.
The only difference between the two of them, really, is that someone called the Rockets’ bluff and constructed a contract that would be tough for them to match.
One ballsy team. That’s it.
Someone could’ve easily done that for Bledsoe. Now, it’s too late.