It is like deja vu all over again.
When the Phoenix Suns ended their 2013-14 season, one of it’s main pieces and guards, Eric Bledsoe began his process with restricted free agency. Now with the 2014-15 season coming to a close, another one of the Suns’ key pieces and guards, Brandon Knight, is set to begin his process with restricted free agency.
There is however one glaring difference between the two situations. How it was expressed on the day the team cleared out their lockers. A year ago, Bledsoe differed all contract questions to his agent and would stoic in mentioning whether or not he wanted to be back in a Suns uniform or not.
Brandon Knight was almost the exact opposite. Expressing appreciate for the Suns calling them a “first-class organization,” liking the pieces that are in place and hoping to have the process end quickly so he can get to work and spend an entire offseason with his teammates to develop leadership and chemistry.
Another big difference from last year in comparison to this is the tone from the Phoenix Suns General Manager, Ryan McDonough. Last year, he stated that Eric Bledsoe was not going anywhere and that he planned to match any offer made during his restricted free agency. McDonough acknowledge this time around that he learned a lot from how things went down with Bledsoe last summer and because of it, was a lot less enthusiastic in their desire to bring Knight back. not because of any lack of interest, but more so to maintain leverage in negotiating behind the scenes.
McDonough said he “likes Knight” as a player and a person, but that was about the extent of it.
Bledsoe is clearly the cornerstone of this franchise as it stands today. That could change depending on a deal that may be signed with Brandon Knight long term. So the tandem of Bledsoe and Knight will be one of the biggest things in question this offseason and if Knight signs, going into next season.
Both Knight and Bledsoe maintain that they like playing with one another and believe they can be a tandem that takes this team over the hump and back into the playoffs.
It seems from the outside that on one token, this should be a much smoother process than it was with Bledsoe last summer. However, the question of whether Knight is a good fit long term with the Suns may be what keeps this process from moving quickly. It is unfortunate that his ankle injury occurred when it did for all parties involved.