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Jul 18 2014

Should the Sixers Make An Offer to Eric Bledsoe?

Last month, Bryan outlined a strategy that a cap-savvy/healthy team like the Sixers could utilize in restricted free agency: offering a hefty contract in the hopes of either landing a borderline all-star, or as a consolation prize, driving up his price for a competitor.

As we’ve seen with the Mavericks signing of Chandler Parsons (three years, $46 million) and the Hornets attempt to pry away Gordon Hayward from the Jazz (4/63), the restricted free-agency market is a dicey game. The Sixers, in spite of their cap room, have chosen to avoid it thus far, but there are still a few RFAs, including Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe, that they could go after. The latter is reportedly far apart in contract talks with Phoenix and Philly, with more than $30 million in cap room, is in a unique position to make a play for the talented combo-guard.

So, the Sixers are the only team not from Phoenix with the flexibility to jump in and make Ryan McDonough sweat.

This puts the Suns in a predicament. While Bledsoe is a dynamic, two-way player, a max contract could restrict their spending in the near- and possibly long-term.1 Losing Bledsoe would hurt, but with Goran Dragic and the newly acquired Isaiah Thomas already in the backcourt they have replacements. The Suns proved last year that they could get by without Bledsoe, going 20-19 in the competitive Western Conference while their second-leading scorer sat out with shin and knee injuries.

The Sixers, meanwhile, would be in a better position to take on Bledsoe’s max without inhibiting their long-term plans. In the next year or two, they’d lose some of their coveted flexibility, but would still possess more than enough cap space to facilitate trades and do Hinkie things. (Keep in mind that with a new TV deal kicking in, the cap is expected to raise as high as $80 million, something that the Suns, Sixers and Bledsoe are keenly aware of. In other words, a max contract this summer could very well be a bargain two years from now.)

The fit could be interesting too. The Sixers were rumored to have spoken to Exum about running a two-point guard lineup, and Bledsoe is coming from the same double-alpha dog system in Phoenix. A lineup that includes Bledsoe, MCW, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid has all the makings of a lock-down defense.

There are cons as well. For one, he’s injury prone; he’s missed 87 games over the past three seasons. While his defense is strong, his offense is questionable. He’s turnover prone (3.3 a game last season) and he’s a poor, albeit improving shooter, as he converted about 36 percent of his 140 three-point attempts last season to up his career rate to just below 33 percent. Not exactly the ideal lights-out off-ball guard to place next to MCW and the twin towers, if and when they take the floor.

That said, fit and injury history certainly haven’t scared Hinkie off before, and 24 year-old talents like Bledsoe don’t come along often. He’s an intriguing option, one to keep in mind while his camp and Phoenix’s continue their negotiations.

1. ShamSports has Phoenix with $34,878,911 on the books for next season, plus the cap holds for Bledsoe, the newly drafted Tyler Ennis, restricted free agent PJ Tucker and Leandro Barbosa. Throw in max money for Bledsoe, Tucker’s new three-year. $16.5 million contract, Ennis’ deal for what is likely to be 120 percent of the rookie scale and whatever happens to Barbosa and Phoenix only has around $5 million to add anyone else this season to upgrade their fringe playoff team in the loaded West.

  • robbybonfire23

    Bledsoe grades in the B/B- arena, overall; whereas Love is in the A/A- bracket. Love is the one to go after and resign. If it’s a contender he wants to play for, by this time next year he’s got his wish in spades, where it comes to resigning for the long haul.

    I say dispatch MCW, and some draft chips and join the Love, Wiggins trade talk merry-go-round, right now. This time next year it’s possible no team takes the bait, as regards MCW, if his shooting percentage has not improved. Right now his stock may be as high as it will ever get – so pull the trigger on the Love deal – Wiggins to Minny, Love to Philly, MCW and chips to Cleveland, where the chemistry between Love and LeBron may be more competitive than complementary, sort of like the disgraceful “chemistry” between Wiggins and Embiid at Kansas, on Wiggins’ part.

    • Evan

      Cleveland would never give up Wiggins for MCW and chips, and Love would never be interested in staying in Philly anyway. They could NEVER be a contender this time next year: Embiid will not have played a single game, Saric would still not be over, and they are missing so many pieces to begin with. I know its just a dream your thinking of, but the Sixers are at least 3 years away from contending, even with Love. His situation in Minnesotta is better than Philly would be, and he clearly wants out from there. Love wants to go to an immediate contender, he is done waiting.

      • robbybonfire23

        You make a good case, especially as Hinkie did not land Lin, which was looking almost like a done deal. So, are we tanking again, this coming season? Under Hinkie we seem to be a team that contends or tanks, with no gray area in between.

        Or will their be serious effort put forth this season, as Noel, MCW, and possibly Wroten mature and rev up their respective game?

        • Evan

          I would no doubt say the plan is to tank again this season. As our roster is now, (unfinished of course) it is one of the worst in the league. Hinkie has this 3-5 year plan that makes it extremely painful for the fans, but the hope is to be in contention in a few years. Until then, we are stuck watching a bad team and can only look forward to player development.

          • robbybonfire23

            This is interesting because I doubt that Noel and MCW are going to be playing at half-speed. And if Wroten revs up a little bit by taking better care of the basketball, and Young is still here, we may well double our win total of this past season.

            I really don’t mind watching a young team as it develops cohesiveness and learns how to win its share of the close games. What is going to be a painful winter sports season for me is watching my OLD, decrepit NY Rangers going through the motions, the second half of the season. The 76ers, by contrast, are all upside from here, and just watching Noel develop and contribute is going to make it a season containing some fulfilled expectations.

            I am not nearly so pessimistic as to what this next season is going to bring us, as seems to be the general consensus.

          • Evan

            I completely agree Robby. It disgusts me to watch the Phillies right now, but next season will be bearable because there is young upside on the team. I’m just saying there are going to be some ugly nights to watch. What scares me most is developing players in a losing environment. I’m afraid if players develop in an atmosphere where they are accustomed to losing, they very well may become too used to the losing environment and lose their competitive edge. Hopefully that doesn’t happen since there seems to be a plan here, but I have seen decent players go to losing teams and just become absolutely awful or lose all motivation (OJ Mayo, Boris Diaw (Charlotte version), ect.). Like I said, since we have a set plan to success to motivate the players I don’t see this happening, but it is still concerning.

          • robbybonfire23

            Sam Hinkie is an interesting and unique man, in that, in this time of “instant gratification” focus for most people in sports and in the world, he has the patience of a “Hindu Holy Man,” you could say. He sees beyond signing over-priced, middling-ability, career downside, temporary-fix free agents. He sees beyond the myopic “Just make the playoffs, Baby” mentality which, in this age of far too many G.M.’s in all sports content to have a .550 regular season percentage, to go with a wishful thinking “hot run” in the playoffs, Hinkie is building toward .650 regular season excellence, with continuing success at that level, come playoff time.

            I consider the G.M. of my favorite NBA team to be the best, and certainly the most patient and far-sighted G.M. in all of professional sports in this country – same as I consider the G.M. of my NHL team of choice to be one the most expedient, short-sighted, dead end, internal organization demoralizing G.M.’s ever to come down the pike in any sport.

            So, where will the 76ers be, three years from now, relative to the Rangers? The 76ers are the life-sustaining and nurturing spring rain, whereas the Rangers are the Texas Pan Handle mid-August heat wave and drought, is how I see the outcome for these two franchises which are on a completely different track.

            I’m with Sam Hinkie, more interested building assets for acquiring a gold mine tomorrow than in settling for a tin cup, today.

          • Lee Washington

            Agree in total… But how can you mention failure without mentioning Amaro,,??? Possibly the worse GM in Philly’s long storied history.

          • robbybonfire23

            The Amaro – Manuel management team was the worst I have ever seen at the MLB level – by far.

          • Lee Washington

            Where is Gillick and what would it take to get him out of retirement ??? I’ll put my hundred bucks in the pot,,

          • robbybonfire23

            Gillick retired at a fossilized age. It is over for him. BUT, the next Gillick is out there, somewhere. The Phillies need to isolate him and go after him.

    • Lee Washington

      Delusion,, Pure delusion.. Love would come to Philly just why ??
      He could stay in Minny and stink,, makes no sense whatsoever.
      My favorite delusion is that Wiggins OR Love could be obtained for MCW and “some chips”.. Seriously ???

      • robbybonfire23

        Probably not “seriously,” but Love IS in play, and I do not underestimate Sam Hinkie, not after the Noel heist. Maybe simply upping the ante to a package including MCW, T. Young, and the rights to Saric would get it done, something creative like that. I would do that in a heartbeat. Saric is an unknown quantity and for too long, at this time. How about a front court of Embiid, Noel and Love, by next spring, could you live with that? Is that a “tanking strategy” front court?

        And now that Chicago has entered the bidding for Love I wonder what they have to offer that is as or more attractive than what the 76ers have to offer? Anyone know what the Bulls have put on the table as bargaining chips?

        • Lee Washington

          Didn’t mean to be insultive. Love coming here is a pipe dream of the highest order. We have a better chance of landing Wiggins (Noel,, Thad,, 2 first rounders ???) than of landing and KEEPING Love. He will simply walk away and our future will be destroyed…
          In the words of the little lizard on TV,,, fagettaboutit..

        • ken

          the fact that there will be teams come next offseason that will be ready now to contend for a championship as opposed to us who are 2-3 years away love wont stay if we trade for him.

          • robbybonfire23

            IF Embiid and Noel are the real deal, we are in the mix with just a par for the course back court. We don’t know how these two will do, so no one can yet say how serious or not a contender we will be, in just one year.

  • robbybonfire23

    Bottom line re Bledsoe – if you are striving for excellence he does not fit that mold, so you do not sign him. If you are tanking, he is too good to have around, so again, you do not sign him. I do not see this player fitting in with this organization, whatever its short-term and long term goals.

    • ken

      whats wrong with offering bledsoe a short term contract with alot of money if he doesnt take it then oh no it doesnt cost us nothing. even if he preforms great we still arent going to be a playoff team hence we wont lose our pick next year. If he stays injury prone we wont effect our cap in the future bc his contract is short term. if we gets over his injuries and becomes an all star he is young enough to become another core piece to our team and will probably reduce our wait to be a championship contender by 1 year.

  • Jason Mace

    Would it be possible for the Sixers to sign Bledsoe and then trade him to a team that wants him for an expiring contract and a pick or two? Seems like they should be able to take advantage of the fact that they are the only team with space to sign him.

  • Srange 92

    I think he could help MCW out in the back court two point guards as the starting line up I think it would be good idea for philly and after seeing him an Dragic do it last year I can see it even better with him and MCW. this young philly team needs another lou williams type of guards and i think he could take his place

    • Somebody

      I see where this could be effective and i believe it would help in the development of MCW. It would be nice to see the 76ers make some moves this off-season.

  • Somebody

    The 76ers should try to sign Bledsoe to a short term contract (ken) and use that as leverage for trading. The 76ers need to build around their rising stars (Noel and MCW) seeing as how they have so much potential. Seeing as how their team is so young, they should use their cap space to sign someone older like FA Shawn Marion (SF) as 1- a mentor, and 2- to fill a needed spot on the roster.

    • IversonHOF

      I would like to see a mentor like a Shawn Marion come over and help us out, however I just can’t see hi wanting to come here because 1- he can’t really fit our run and gun offense because of his age, and 2- at his age I would think that he would be more focused on contending for a championship, than helping out a rebuilding process.