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Suns GM on Bledsoe’s actions: ‘That’s the opposite of what a leader does’

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough answers a question during an NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns GM

Following an eventful 48 hours that saw his head coach Earl Watson fired and his star point guard Eric Bledsoe demand a trade, Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough joined 98.7 FM’s Bickley & Marotta to discuss the transpiring events.

McDonough was asked about Bledsoe’s tweet from Sunday that read “I Dont wanna be here,” a tweet in which Bledsoe claimed he was at a hair salon when he spoke with McDonough that night.

Bledsoe was sent home by the team and would not play in the team’s win over the Sacramento Kings Monday.

“I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it,” McDonough said. “I think Eric’s a good person and I think he’s unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people.”

McDonough spoke on the contractual agreement Bledsoe has with the team, with two years remaining on his five-year, $70 million contract.

“Generally, anytime you sign a contract it doesn’t only work one way, it works both ways. For a guy with years on his contract to say or intimate that he didn’t want to be here anymore — I didn’t find that to be appropriate.

“He says he wants to be a leader — that’s the opposite of what a leader does and the opposite of what leadership is.”

When asked whether or not Bledsoe being shut down by the team last year played a factor in his thought process, McDonough once again deferred to his contractual obligation.

“He was certainly hurt by getting shut down last year and we understand that and respect that,” McDonough said.

“At the same time, it’s a new year, he has multiple years left on his contract. I talked to Eric, met with him a couple of times before the season started, and he said he was excited about our group, excited to play with the young guys and thought we had a good thing going here.

“Just my opinion — the shift comes from contractual demands made from his representatives.”

John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station reported that Bledsoe had asked for a trade before the start of the season.

McDonough joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo Wednesday and said Bledsoe was eligible for a contract extension with two years left on his deal and Bledsoe and his representatives were seeking out a contract extension this past offseason.

“With two years left on his contract we did not think that was something that made sense for the team and we told Eric and his representatives that that was something that we were potentially open to discussing next summer with one year left on his deal,” McDonough said. “And I guess they didn’t like that answer and took kind of a hostile approach and kinda shut down and distanced themselves from the team and I think that’s where the approach came from.”

The general manager said there were a few teams in particular that were being aggressive for Bledsoe in trade negotiations.

Bledsoe will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.

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