Bledsoe wants the max. The Phoenix Suns don't want to give it to him. And there's ample evidence for both sides to make a point.

As the stalemate between the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe continues, we need to start taking seriously the option of Bledsoe simply signing this year's qualifying offer ($3.7 million for 2014-15) and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.

At the moment, and with no rush to compromise until late September, the Phoenix Suns are holding fast at their 4 year, $48 million offer to Bledsoe, while Bledsoe wants the full max extension of 5 years, $84 million. The Suns are using Bledsoe's restricted free agent status as a barometer of how high to go in contract offers, while Bledsoe doesn't like that.

Let's do some market shopping on those positions.

Bledsoe wants max

Recent point guards who have gotten maximum level extensions at the end of the their fourth NBA season include some of the most talented players in the NBA: John Wall, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving.

Here is a snapshot of their careers to date, compared to Bledsoe.

As you can see, each of the guys who have earned maximum level, 5-year extensions in the past couple of years were starters from day one in the NBA. While each has had their injury issues, some bigger than others, each of these point guards has been the focal point of their team whenever they are on the court.

Bledsoe, on the other hand, should not have that held against him as he was buried behind Chris Paul in Los Angeles for two of his first three seasons. You can't penalize someone on a future contract for being held back in such a manner.

So let's look at just their penultimate season that earned them their max extension. For Bledsoe's max-salary competition, that was the third NBA year for each of these guys.

As you can see by the numbers, each of these players had a heck of a season leading into their maximum extension talks, including Bledsoe. Irving and Wall also had injury issues, but got their max extension anyway, while Rose and Westbrook were two of the best players in the NBA on two of the best teams.

My guess is that Bledsoe's agent is making the comparison to Wall and Irving more than the other two. Bledsoe shoots better than either of them, but doesn't pass the ball as well. Defensively, they are hit and miss, with Wall being the better defender than Irving.

Does Bledsoe compare favorably to these players, when compared to their most important season prior to the contract? Most definitely.

However, it's not as clear as all that.

Other point guard contracts...

The prior section just pointed out the best of the best, in terms of extensions with their teams. Lots of other point guards were drafted and have gotten new contracts as well. Let's compare those point guards' seasons that earned them a new contract, just to see how Bledsoe compares.

As you can see, Bledsoe fits quite snugly into this group of point guards. The outlier might just be Dragic, who didn't start any entire season until after signing his $7.5 million/year contract with the Suns.

Holiday and Lawson both earned $11-12 million per season, while Jennings and Teague garnered just a little bit more than Dragic. Each of those four were starters for most of their first three to four years in the NBA.

That's really quite the disparity in contracts for roughly similar statistics.

This summer

Speaking specifically of this summer, the contracts given to point guards have been all over the board for roughly similar statistics.

Irving, as we already discussed, got the max. Lowry got $12 million per year. And Thomas got only $7 million per year.

So where do you slot Bledsoe?

Irving is younger with a presumably brighter future. Lowry is older with a presumably dimmer future, yet Lowry is more durable and proven.

Isaiah Thomas is the same age but generally seen as having already reached his potential and likely at his best as a Sixth Man candidate for a great playoff team, mainly because of his height and defensive limitations.

What's his worth

Bledsoe does have a case for getting a max extension. If Irving can get one, and Wall can get one, then Bledsoe is right in that same company.

Yet the Suns have a case to offer $12 million per year because Bledsoe also compares similarly to Lowry and Lawson and Holiday, who all got money right there or just below.

That's why each side is standing firm. An ideal situation is to meet somewhere in the middle, possibly on fewer years so Bledsoe can get a bigger payday in 2017 in when the new TV contract comes into play.

The Suns have to consider already have Isaiah Thomas, who has put up similar numbers, for $7 million per year and Goran Dragic who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Suns will want to keep all three long term, but breaking the bank on Dragic and Bledsoe would be tough.

Take the qualifying offer?

If the team and Bledsoe can't reach an accord, Bledsoe could take his qualifying offer. However, that's a HUGE risk, not the least of which is that even a max contract next summer would barely exceed the Suns current offer of $48 million through 2018.

*the 2018-19 season is not included in this graph. Bledsoe would certainly get PAID in that season, unless he's had a catastrophic injury, either way.

**this chart assumes a 7.5% raise in the cap and max salaries next summer, something that's been predicted. If the cap does not go up 7.5% to 68 million, then the chart overstates his income potential

If the Suns just up their offer another $6 million over 4 years, there's no way Bledsoe could ever make more money under any other long-term scenario.

As you can see in this graph, by taking just $3.7 million this year it's almost impossible to make more than the Suns are currently offering over the next four years. If the Suns just up their offer another $6 million (to $54 million) over 4 years, there's no way Bledsoe could ever make more money under any long-term contract scenario.

But yet if Bledsoe could get the Suns to give him his max extension with max raises, he'd make $65 million over that span. No wonder he wants the max.

This is why Bledsoe is holding out.

I don't see him taking the qualifying offer simply because an injury could derail any big contract offers next summer. As you can see by the range of contracts given to point guards just in the last two off seasons, it's a total crap shoot to assume you'd get a max offer next summer. The league is flush with point guards right now, and will continue to be.

What's up, Bright Siders?  Another week, another Madhouse.  Pop off with your thoughts on ComicCon, whatever tickled your media fancy, or any other topic of your choosing.  This is your place to let your thoughts run free!

A few years ago, ValleyoftheSuns founder Michael Schwartz got as close as anyone has in trying to understand how the Phoenix Suns’ training staff prevents injury. Head athletic trainer Aaron...

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Here we are again, on our own. Going down all the dumb topics we've ever known. Bright Side After Dark - Episode 6. Catch the fever - its communicable

Good afternoon! Good evening!  Good Morning!

I know you haven't had your fill of Scott Howard or Sreekar just just - and while you've almost certainly had your fill of the Grinchy Bryan Gibberman well hey I'm sorry and I'll do my best to make it up to you.

On this episode of Bright Side After Dark the guys talk about Sreekar's twitter recruitment of Eric Bledsoe (which leads to a delightful interactive game for all of you), the use of half-quotes to create unnecessary panic, which NBA teams had the best offseasons, our thoughts on the failure of the League of Nations, and a dramatic reading of How the McGrinch Cut Christmas.  There's definitely other stuff in there too but you've just got to listen and find out.

As per usual - here are a few listener testimonials for you:

@sreekyshooter @Gibberman10 @ScottHoward42 It felt just like being trapped in a car with 3 Suns nerds who love-to-hate-to-love each other.

— Mike Lisboa (@MikeLisboa) July 22, 2014

Oddly fascinating #BrightsideAfterDark

— Dave King (@DaveKingNBA) July 22, 2014

@DaveKingNBA #brightsideafterdark is the podcast equivalent of sharknado

— Jack Kolbe (@JackKolbe) July 22, 2014

Work is always so much better with a little BSAD. Big shout out to @sreekyshooter @ScottHoward42 and @Gibberman10 . Love the fetus talk

— Daniel Shoch (@shochme) July 22, 2014

If you want to hear Gibby mispronounce the word "queue" and play the interactive Sreekar Twitter game, listen here:

Listen To Basketball Internet Radio Stations with Bright Side After Dark on BlogTalkRadio

According to noted player development coach David Thorpe, who also writes for ESPN, Suns rookie T.J. Warren showed enough skills to make him the draft's best offensive player.

There are varying opinions on T.J. Warren's viability in the NBA, given that he's not a supreme athlete and among the typical NBA players he will pale in comparison.

But Warren is unique to many NBA players in terms of body control and ability to create shots where none exists. It's good when nationally renowned player development coaches feel the same way, as does David Thorpe, the Executive Director of Pro Training Center.

The Suns definitely put Warren in position to show well in Vegas, and Warren delivered. Warren scored 17.8 points per game over 5 games in SL, numbers depressed by a 7-minute stint in game two (stitches) and a poor final game where he was forced to play center.

"He's got a knack for scoring," coach Mike Longabardi said before SL started. "A knack for cutting and moving without the ball. We want to utilize that. We want him to play to his strengths. He's going to have to improve his shooting, which he works on. We've got to just try to exploit mismatches and put him in position to be successful."

The biggest knock on T.J. Warren these days is the lack of opportunity he will see next year for a very good Phoenix Suns team.

P.J. Tucker is the starter at small forward, and Marcus Morris is a proven backup. Tucker is the heart and soul of the Suns, producing in unconventional ways but doing so many good things it's tough to sit him down. On just 20 minutes a game, Morris produced 10 points and 4 rebounds (by comparison, Anthony Tolliver put up 6 and 3 in as many minutes in Charlotte).

Barring a trade, where will Warren see his minutes?

And even in the wake of a trade to put Warren in the top 2 of a small forward depth chart, are the Suns really better off playing a soon-to-be 21 year old rookie who needs to learn to play D ahead of two proven SFs returning from last year?

Warren was impressive in Summer League, and is a wonderful insurance policy in case of injury or free agency (next year, Morris is an RFA) or trade.

Let's commend the Suns front office for bringing in a high-upside talent at what is generally a deep position. It's the same mentality that they used to double down at the point guard spot, finding two better talents than last year's #3 point guard, Ish Smith.

In fact, the Suns have a high-upside kid at 4 of 5 positions: C Alex Len (21 all season), SF Warren (21), SG Archie Goodwin (20) and PG Tyler Ennis (20). The only position the Suns still lack a "future" player is at PF.

The here-and-now is bright for the 48 win Suns, but the future is bright as well. McBabbacek is really doing their job.

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