With a new TV deal in a couple seasons, the NBA salary cap will increase as will the player contracts.
The business man that is LeBron James, returned to Cleveland on a 2-year, $42 million max deal. Why so short a contract if he really desires to retire for his hometown team? The NBA contract extensions with ESPN, ABC, and TNT come into affect in 2016. At that point, early word is that team caps can increase to $100 million. Concerning the best player on the planet, the 35% max would serve him $35 million annually. That’s right, per year.
Sharing the same agent as James, is point guard Eric Bledsoe. The restricted free agent just declined a 4-year, $48 million offer from the Phoenix Suns, who traded for him a year ago. Truth be told, Bledsoe has been inconsistent on the court and isn’t even the best guard on the roster. That would be Goran Dragic, who won the Most Improved Player of the Year award. Bledsoe, in his four years, has yet to start half of the games played in any season (82 games). No player with a history of knee injuries and missing half seasons gets a mex deal. The guy is bold for turning down $12 million a year, teams can’t depend on him staying healthy.
Goran Dragic: 20.3 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 76% FT, 41% 3-PT, 54% FG, and 35 minutes per game
Eric Bledsoe: 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 76% FT, 36% 3-PT, 48% FG, and 33 minutes per game
2010-11: 25 games started, 81 games played
2011-12: 1 game started, 40 games played (knee injury)
2012-13: 12 games started, 76 games played
2013-14: 40 games started, 43 games played (knee injury)
Maybe he and his agent, Rich Paul, are seeking a similar deal as his other client, King James. Maybe they accept $12 million per season if it’s over the next couple seasons, hitting the free agent market again when the new TV deal kicks in. Phoenix wants to keep him, and being a restricted free agent, other teams have been discouraged on contacting him before the Suns are believed to match any deal (like Utah did with Gordan Hayward). By that time, say he stays vertical and continues to play at a high level, he might be worth top-dollar.
As of right now, although talented with some learning behind Chris Paul on his resume, he’s not even close to entering the elite level of a deep point guard pool.
Top 10: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Steph Curry, Damian Lilliard, Kyre Irving, John Wall, Kyle Lowry
Bledsoe is coming off a great season, his athleticism gives him plenty of potential over some other point guards. He may very well be in the top 15. The next group of floor generals: Michael Carter-Williams, Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, and Ricky Rubio.
There are 22 point guards that posted more double-doubles last season than Bledsoe, in which he missed time to a second knee injury.
So while another team would be hesitant to show him the kind of money he desires, I expect a 2-year agreement near $12 million to be worked out soon.