It took almost the entire NBA offseason to hammer out, but the Phoenix Suns and talented young guard Eric Bledsoe will stay together.
The Suns and Bledsoe have agreed to a five-year contract, the team announced today.
“I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter how stormy the sea is as long as the ship comes in and today we are thrilled that the ship has come in and Eric will remain a Sun for a long time,” said President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “He will be an integral part not only of our basketball team, but our Phoenix community.”
“We are thrilled Eric Bledsoe will be in a Phoenix Suns uniform for years to come,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Eric is one the most exciting and dynamic two-way players in the league. He played very well for us on both ends of the floor last season and we feel he is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the elite players in the NBA.”
“Lon, Ryan and the Suns have shown confidence in me, and I am looking to take that responsibility and help our team get better from last year and position ourselves to win an NBA championship,” said Bledsoe. “It’s why I came back to Phoenix. All summer, I knew that I really would be most comfortable coming back to Phoenix because of the great fans, my Suns teammates and our coaches. I am very happy it was able to work out this way.”
Bledsoe appeared in 43 games (40 starts) for the Suns in 2013-14, averaging career-highs of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 32.9 minutes while also shooting a career-best 47.7 percent from the field. In his first season with the Suns, and fourth in the NBA, Bledsoe became just the sixth player in Suns history to average at least 17.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals, and the first since Charles Barkley in his NBA MVP season of 1992-93.
Bledsoe registered his first two games with at least 30 points this past season, twice setting his career-high in the final month of the season, scoring 30 points at Portland on April 4, and again at San Antonio on April 11. In that contest against the Spurs, Bledsoe also had 11 rebounds and nine assists to become the first Sun since 1999 to have a game with at least 30 points, ten rebounds and nine assists. Bledsoe recorded a career-high 14 assists in addition to scoring 26 points at Oklahoma City on Nov. 3, in just his third game with the Suns.
Acquired by the Suns from the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team trade on July 10, 2013, Bledsoe excelled in his first season as a full-time starter, helping the Suns to a 28-15 (.651) record in the 43 games in which he played. Bledsoe notched 17 games with 20-plus points in 2013-14 after entering the season with four such games in his first three seasons combined.
Prior to joining the Suns, Bledsoe played the first three seasons of his professional career with the Clippers. Bledsoe, a native of Birmingham, Ala., played one season at the University of Kentucky before entering the 2010 NBA Draft where he was selected in the first round with the 18th overall pick.
The Suns’ roster stands at 14.