Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has had a busy week, with the disastrous minus-92-point scoring differential through his team's first three games, the subsequent firing of head coach Earl Watson, and during all of it, the very public defection of veteran guard Eric Bledsoe.
“I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it,” McDonough said of Bledsoe's recent comments, in an appearance on the Bickley & Marotta show on Arizona Sports 98.7. “I think Eric’s a good person and I think he’s unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people.”
In 224 career games with the Suns, Bledsoe has averaged 18.8 points, six assists, and 4.8 rebounds per appearance, though he has occasionally struggled to stay healthy, seeing both his 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons cut short due to injury.
Ironically, it wasn't an injury that forced Bledsoe to miss the final 14 games of the 2016-17 campaign, but an executive order. McDonough was asked whether the decision to prematurely shut down a healthy Bledsoe last season contributed to the falling out between player and front office.
“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.”
McDonough's comments were likely directed toward Bledsoe's agent. The 27-year-old is represented by Rich Paul, whose Klutch Sports agency touts LeBron James, John Wall, and rookie phenom Ben Simmons among its star clients.
Including the remainder of the 2017-18 season, Bledsoe has $29.5 million over two years left on his current contract.
- With h/t to ESPN