NBA insider: Eric Bledsoe’s absence may not derail Phoenix Suns’ season

Jan 10, 2014, 1:17 AM | Updated: 1:18 am
LISTEN: Tom Penn, ESPN NBA Analyst

The Phoenix Suns will be without guard Eric Bledsoe for the foreseeable future, but it’s hard to tell what that means for the team’s playoff chances.

While the length of Blesdoe’s absence with a torn right meniscus has yet to be determined, ESPN NBA analyst Tom Penn told Arizona Sports’ Burns and Gambo that the guard has two options when it comes to getting back on the court.

“In the old days, they’d just snip it up and you’d be back in two weeks,” Penn said. “Blake Griffin had that done in college — a lot of people did — and still can fly out of the gym. But then you’ve got the new wave with (Russell) Westbrook and (Derrick) Rose where they choose to repair the meniscus. That’s much better for the long-term health and recovery of the player. But that scratches the short term season.”

But even if the Suns and Bledsoe opt for the long-term recovery, Penn said the Suns might be built to withstand the blow of losing one of their most dynamic players.

“In a way, they’re built with their depth and style of play — that collegiate enthusiasm of sharing the ball — they may be built to not take too big a fall without a player like Bledsoe,” Penn said.

The fourth-year pro will be a restricted free agent after this season, but Penn said it’s hard to make a prediction on what type of offers he’ll garner without knowing the extent of rehab that Bledsoe’s knee will require. Still, Penn cautioned against assuming that Bledsoe’s injury will help the Suns extend him for a cheaper price than if he’d remained healthy.

“It takes just one team to make a huge, risky offer, if you will,” Penn said. “Then you’re put in a situation where you’ve got to decide whether to match or not. As a team without a player like that, you’re more willing to take a risk to get him.”

The Suns engaged with Bledsoe on extension talks but couldn’t reach an agreement before the NBA’s Nov. 1 deadline, though that seemed like the right move for Phoenix at the time because it could see Bledsoe’s production as the team’s centerpiece before committing to a major contract.

But now the team may be burdened with the decision to match a maximum contract offer to Bledsoe despite the fact that he’s coming off a major injury.

“I think the Suns probably wish they would have extended him early if they could have,” Penn said. “But they didn’t know him well enough probably and wanted to keep all the flexibility they could.”

Phoenix Suns

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at F...
Tyler Drake

Jones: Suns need to ‘control what they can control’ with fouling

Worrying over what transpired in previous games does the Phoenix Suns no favors as it jostles for playoff position.
1 day ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Arena on March 22, 2023 in Los...
Dan Bickley

Suns crying foul hints at problems between their ears

The Suns have been tagged as a flopping, foul-hunting, fall-down-after-every-shot kind of team. You don’t think that comes with consequences?
1 day ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns takes a shot against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half ...
Kellan Olson

Suns let another winnable game slip away, lose to Lakers

The Phoenix Suns keep letting winnable games slip away in uncharacteristic ways and have now lost five of their last six.
1 day ago
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns looks on in the first quarter during their game again...
Kellan Olson

Monty Williams says officiating vs. Suns is not fair after loss to Lakers

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams sounded off on the officiating after a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
1 day ago
Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, right, lies on the court after an injury during the secon...
Associated Press

Clippers’ Paul George out 2-3 weeks with sprained right knee

Paul George has a sprained right knee and the Los Angeles Clippers All-Star will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 and Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns look on during the third quarter against the ...
Kellan Olson

What happened to the Phoenix Suns in the clutch this season?

The Phoenix Suns went from a historically good team in the clutch last season to a bad one this year. What happened?
2 days ago
NBA insider: Eric Bledsoe’s absence may not derail Phoenix Suns’ season