Mere hours before the blockbuster “Wiggins for Love” trade that would see the most recent number 1 overall pick traded before playing a meaningful minute for his new team, the Phoenix Suns have stepped in and offered the Minnesota Timberwolves Eric Bledsoe in a straight up trade for Kevin Love.
The deal is mooted as a sign-and-trade because Bledsoe is still to sign the $3.7m qualifying offer that Phoenix extended his way after the two were unable to come to an agreement on his new contract – Phoenix offered Bledsoe, who spent half of last season injured, four years and $48m, similar to the deal Kyle Lowry signed in Toronto, whereas Bledsoe wants five years and $85m, rather a lot for someone who has only recently started to look like a player who might merit that sort of commitment from a team.
Love is stuck with whomever the Timberwolves want him to play for. His contract expires in two years’ time, but he has a player option in a year which he will almost certainly use to opt out of this deal. Word was that he was set to sign a five year, max-level deal with Cleveland in 12 months, which could still happen regardless.
Phoenix make this move in the knowledge that they would still have a chance to make a pitch to either player next year, but perhaps feel that they can do more to attract Love to stay than Bledsoe, who was very impressive in their two-guard attack along with Goran Dragic, who also has a player option a year from now, but is perhaps somewhat more replaceable with the arrival of Isaiah Thomas from Sacramento on a four year $27m contract.
Will Minnesota fancy their chances better with Bledsoe, something of a known quantity, or Wiggins, all expectation?
The plot thickens…