As the NBA’s offseason is just a couple of weeks away (maybe three if the Finals go seven games), Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe finds himself in an elite class with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
What class is that, you say?
The most valuable free agents of the 2014 offseason, at least according to Hoops Rumors head writer Chuck Myron.
Bledsoe is the highest-rated restricted free agent on the list, coming in at fourth overall behind James, Anthony and Bosh — in that order — all of whom have early termination options in their contracts.
Myron says this about the Suns’ backcourt star:
The (Dallas Mavericks) are reportedly likely to target Bledsoe, though they probably won’t get very far, with Phoenix planning to match any offer. Bledsoe seems to have as much if not a better chance at a max deal than Anthony or Bosh, but because his maximum salary wouldn’t be nearly as high as theirs, he remains at No. 4 in these rankings.
Although the 6-foot-1 combo guard missed 39 games in his first year with Phoenix, he showed a noticeable impact when he was on the court. He averaged 32.9 minutes per game — more than 10 above his previous high for a season — and put up career-best marks of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 47.7 percent field goal shooting.
The Suns went 28-15 in games Bledsoe played in 2013-14, while going just 20-19 in his absence. The four-year pro is scheduled to make $2.63 million in 2014-15 before becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Suns tried to sign him to an extension last summer — before he even played a game in purple in orange — but those talks fell through.
As far as free agent power rankings on Hoops Rumors, a site which reports on potential free agency deals and trades before they happen, the only unrestricted players in the top-10 list are Toronto guard Kyle Lowry and Cleveland forward Luol Deng, who came in at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.
Other highly coveted potential free agents on the list include Detroit’s Greg Monroe, Utah’s Gordon Hayward, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Memphis’ Zach Randolph.
The NBA’s free agency period begins in just under a month.