As the Phoenix Suns-Eric Bledsoe contract standoff continues, reports have surfaced that the Suns are actively exploring trade options for the restricted free agent.
With the NBA season just two months away, ESPN reported that the Suns contacted the Minnesota Timberwolves to discuss a deal in which the Timberwolves would send forward Kevin Love to the Suns via a sign-and-trade in exchange for Bledsoe.
The report suggested that such a deal is not likely, as the Timberwolves have been locked into an agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins in exchange for Love:
The Cavaliers and Wolves have had an agreement in place on Love for weeks, and it remains intact, sources said. That trade, which morphed into a three-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers that will send Thaddeus Young to Minnesota, is expected to be completed on Saturday.
The report also noted that Bledsoe and agent Rich Paul are unlikely to change their minds about rejecting the Suns’ four-year, $48 million offer from earlier this summer:
Bledsoe has made it clear he is seeking a five-year, $85 million maximum contract from the Suns. He would consider only a max deal in a sign-and-trade, which would be four years and $64 million, with any other team, sources said.
If Bledsoe, who has remained firm in his salary position all summer, does not get a max deal this summer, he intends to sign the Suns’ one-year qualifying offer for $3.7 million and become an unrestricted free agent next year.
Earlier this month, Yahoo! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Bledsoe and Paul have “boxed themselves into a corner” by turning down the Suns’ offer but being unable to obtain a max contract offer from another team.
Suns fans have made it clear that they blame Bledsoe and Paul for the ongoing contract dispute.