The Phoenix Suns have been very proud of their acquisition of Eric Bledsoe this summer, but if you read between the lines they have not openly committed to Bledsoe for the long term.

While the Lakers talk of extending their best player, Kobe Bryant, and the other teams are unafraid to say how they are going to "work it out" with their best player, the Phoenix Suns have been smartly silent on any discussion of long-term deals.

There are several obvious reasons for this.

No starting experience

Sterling tried to kill Bledsoe deal

The great summer of 2013 almost went down the tubes

Eric Bledsoe almost certainly wants to be paid like a starter if he's going to commit to playing in Phoenix for the next five seasons (this one, plus a 4-year contract). Last year, starting point guards entering their fourth season got deals starting in the $11 per year range to start (Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson).

Yet, he has not proven he can run a team or that he is best in a starting role in the NBA at all. It helps that his last two preseason games were all-around knockouts while the Suns won both games, including a 21/7/7/3 line in the finale. But he still can't shoot with any consistency, and there's a chance that defenses will solve that problem by leaving him open outside 15 feet while playing for the drive, effectively negating a lot of his half-court options.

Dragic's contract

Fellow combo guard Goran Dragic signed last year for just $7.5 million per year and figures to outscore and potentially out-assist Bledsoe this season despite sharing the ball. Dragic has also proven his value as a starter, putting up numbers last year only rivaled by a handful of NBA players: 14.7 points, 7.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

How can you pay Bledsoe 30-50% more money for potentially, probably lesser stats from a guy who plays the same position? How can you commit multi-year money to a combo of guards you don't even know can work well together?

No commitment

But the biggest problem of all, to me, is that Bledsoe doesn't seem to care what happens. He just wants to play this season, whatever the uniform.

Not once has Eric Bledsoe professed a desire to stay long-term in the Valley. Of course, why should he do that anyway? The Suns promise to be real bad and only hope to get real good in the near future. But if Bledsoe can parlay a big-minute season into a contract next summer with a contender or a team on a faster track to contention, why stay in the Valley?

Yet, Suns fans expect commitment from their stars. Those who never committed, never really stayed: Stephon Marbury, Jason Kidd and Antonio McDyess are three stars who just didn't connect here and left or got shipped out pretty quickly.

Suns fans prefer guys like Jeff Hornacek, Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Mark West and the Van Arsdales who never even moved away from Phoenix. They love the guys who love the valley and the Suns.

Goran Dragic is much closer to this heritage, as was from day one when he talked of dreaming about being a Phoenix Sun before the draft. Even Archie Goodwin has already let it drop that he really wanted to come to the Suns.

And last year, when the Suns offered a big contract to Eric Gordon, what they got back from Gordon was a shower of love and affection and a true desire to stay long-term in the Valley.

Bledsoe? No such comments. Everything he says is here and now. This season. Let everything else be handled by the agent. To me, that smacks of "give me the max or give me summer of 2014".

There's no problem with this, from the Bledsoe perspective. None.

But is that a guy you commit big money to?

More from Bright Side Of The Sun:

Poll
Will the Suns sign Bledsoe long term before Thursday night?

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We here at Bright Side of the Sun have decided to step all the way into the 21st century and run a LIVE, interactive Google Hangout tonight for our Season Previewapalooza!

That's it. You read it right.

Season Previewapalooza!

Check back at 7:30 for the link to the live Hangout, where you'll get to put voice AND face to the writing you've devoured over the past few years on your favorite Suns blog. You'll no doubt be disappointed - kind of like pulling the curtain back on the ol' Wizard of Oz - but check in anyway.

Staff writers will get together and, after the inevitable technical glitches, will preview the upcoming season of what national writers think will be the worst season in the history of Suns basketball.

Rock on!

Franchise impact should be done on the court. Entertainment, logistics, and fun aside the players and the front office are who should be the most impactful members of a franchise.

As we enter the Top 10 in the Phoenix Suns Rank for 2013-2014 there are six players total this high in the rankings. Six out of 14 players are this high in the rankings. I wonder how many other franchises have half their roster in the bottom half of a non-important ranking system?

Here is the first half of the Top 10 in #SUNSRANK:

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25-21 << 20-16 << 15-11 << 10-6 << 5-1

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No. 10: Marcin Gortat or "Whatever we get for Gortat" (9.8)

Profile: Otherwise known as Emeka Okafor and a 1st Round Pick (Top 12 Protected)

Interesting Fact: The Suns turned a former 57th Overall Pick, that is turning 30, into a future Top 20 Pick.

Analysis: While setting up this Suns Rank concept one of the staff writers ranked "Whatever we get for Marcin Gortat" as one of the Top 25 important people for the team this year. It turns out that happened faster than anyone expected and "what we got" turned out to be Okafor and a first round pick. The two pieces coming back to the Suns will not make any significant impact this season, but the trade does as nearly every string there was to pull has been tugged on. It is unlikely that Okafor will play any significant minutes for the team this year and this could be another Caron Butler move, with a wink-and-a-nod, before he is delivered to a playoff team.

Important Question: How much are you going to miss the Polish Hammer?

No. 9: Channing Frye (9.6)

Profile: 6-11 245 lbs. Power Forward -- Eighth Year Arizona

Summer Stats: (Pre-Season) In 16.0 MPG 7.8 PPG 3.5 RPG 43.9% FG 29.2% 3PT (7/24)

Interesting Fact: Channing has fries named after him at Majerle's Grill, the only current Suns player with an item named after him on the menu. They are delicious.

Analysis: Yes, #9 seems rather low for Mr. Frye, especially given his successful recovery from a frightening condition and his hometown roots. However, if we are ranking the members of this organization from to bottom in terms of importance, I stand by my ranking based on the fact that Frye will not make enough of a difference to either get us back into the playoffs this season, nor provide us with a solid foundation for the future. Frye's contribution will be stretching the defense this season and giving the fans someone they can feel good about watching and cheering for. There's no doubt Frye will not only help the team, but make watching games more enjoyable this year, which is why he cracked the top 10 in my rankings. However, I don't see Channing as being part of the vision that McDonough likely has for this team going forward. - Sean Sullivan

Important Question: Is Frye another "asset" or does he have a future after the All-Star Break this year?

No. 8: Archie Goodwin (9.6)


Profile: 6-5 198 lbs. Combo Guard -- Rookie Kentucky

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 15.7 MPG 6.3 PPG 1.6 RPG 0.6 APG 41.5% FG (0-11 3PT)

Interesting Fact: Shares an NBA birthday with Rudy Gay and Tyrus Thomas, the Suns are hoping to get more of the former.

Analysis: The reason I have Goodwin so high is that he is the first real player with elite potential to be drafted by the new regime, with the potential to one day be the face of this franchise. His importance has much more to do with the long-term implications, rather than the immediate ones, though I still believe Goodwin will be important to this year's Suns team as well by injecting them with an aggressive offensive mindset and energetic defense as well. Goodwin's development this season will be one of the biggest measures of success this season....much more than any meaningless wins this team accrues as it looks forward to the future, in which they hope to quickly return to contention. - Sean Sullivan

Important Question: Are the fans expecting too much from an 18 year old No. 29 Overall pick?

No. 7: Al McCoy (9.6)

Profile: Play-by-Play -- 42nd Year Drake University

Career Stats: 42 Seasons (3,313 games), 28 Playoff Appearances (261 games), 2 Trips to the NBA Finals, and more SHAZAM'S! than one person could ever possibly count.

Interesting Fact: McCoy is versatile, he did play-by-play on the weekends for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998, their inaugural season.

Analysis: I picked the voice of the Suns higher than any of my other colleagues. Maybe it's because I'm mawkish and grew up with him as a household voice... Maybe that's why he is called the voice of the Suns. He is synonymous with the brand to me. 42 years tends to establish that kind of notoriety. Despite that tenure there are still two glaring omissions in his storied career. One - Despite his four+ decades of service and his station as one of the greatest broadcasters in sports history Al still hasn't been honored by the team as an inductee to the ring of honor. Two - Calling the clinching game in a Suns NBA Championship. Considering he turns 81 this season time is running out. While the second feat seems worlds away from where the Suns are currently stationed, the first can, and should, be rectified by the team before it's too late. Doesn't McCoy rank among such non-players Such as Cotton Fitzsimmons, John MacLeod and Joe Proski... That's what I thought. - Jim Coughenour

Important Question: Already discussed it in my snippet. When will the Suns induct him into the ring of honor?

No. 6: Alex Len (7.8)

Profile: 7-1 255 lbs. Center -- Rookie Maryland

Summer Stats: (Pre-Season) In 15.4 MPG 2.8 PPG 4.6 RPG 0.6 BPG 37.5% FG

Interesting Fact: Len is the toast of the Ukraine as a former gymnast, a talented chess player, and the highest player ever drafted from the country (that distinction was previously held by Vitaly Potapenko, 12th Overall by Cleveland) and is the center of the future in the Valley.

Analysis: I ranked Len lowest on the staff, simply because I don't think he's that much of a key this season. I'd be happy if the 20-year old Len slowly progresses and develops good habits while doing so, and then comes in next year in a much bigger role. To overexpose Len is to invite catastrophe - either in terms of health (ankles) or habits (scoring over rebounding/defense). If Len develops highly this season, that's nothing more than a pleasant surprise. Len has the skillset to succeed - finishing at the basket, quick feet, jumper, size, length, agility, speed, nose for ball. What he needs to develop is strength and staying power - the guy has to build the foundation of a long-term player. Right now, he's a gorgeous house with an open floor plan and great natural light sitting on rickety stilts on the edge of the Jersey shore. - Dave King

Important Question: Can Alex Len stay healthy?

Come back tomorrow for the Top 5 in the #SUNSRANK series and follow along on Twitter!

Ohhh....

Write-In Ballot: Beasley's Gremlin's (Kris)

Profile: Unknown to the common eye, nobody can see them or communicate with them, but they exist in the world of Beas...

Stats: They were a key factor in 42.6% (two-point) and 31.3% (three-point) shooting. They bounce balls off the rim...

Interesting Fact: These Gremlins have followed Beasley around since early 1990 after their second movie (Gremlins 2: The New Batch) didn't produce the right type of monster. Instead they were tiny little nuisance that only get joy from knocking balls off of metal cylinders.

Analysis: Was there anything more entertaining last season than when Michael Beasley went on a rant about "gremlins on the rim" being the reason his shots were not falling. Either pure gold or horrifying insight into the psyche for Beasley. This is about the only thing that happened in the one full season that the Valley had the pleasure of hosting Beasley and his Gremlins.

Important Question: Did something follow one of the teams nine new players this year?

More from Bright Side Of The Sun:

PHOENIX — When speculating the Suns’ final cuts before the Marcin Gortat trade, the mere possibility of said trade made center Viacheslav Kravtsov a player Phoenix was unlikely to cut....

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"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will be shown Thursday, October 31st on ABC at 8:00 ET. The classic Halloween special based on the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schultz, first aired in 1966 - predating the Phoenix Suns by two years. If you haven't seen this, I encourage you to do so... it's iconic American culture.

But what exactly does this have to do with the Phoenix Suns?

Well, as Linus would say, "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the tanking/rebuilding strategy Great Pumpkin."

The Great Pumpkin is essentially a Santa Claus like figure that Linus believes in and waits for at a pumpkin patch on Halloween. Shockingly, the Great Pumpkin is a no show. *Editor's note - The Great Pumpkin is in no way related to a Pumpkin Clause in a contract and neither exists.

But Linus's belief in the Great Pumpkin symbolizes an unflappable conviction in an ideology even when it may not be popular with the opinion of the majority. Linus, I believe, is a tanker. And Linus and I are cohorts.

There has been much discussion on the concept of tanking relative to the Phoenix Suns over the last few seasons. The word has become trite from overuse and at the same time is still nebulous in that people interpret its meaning in different ways. While the simplest definition to some may be "losing on purpose", it's just not that simplistic. By this logic a team can never take a step back to take two forward. A team can never lose the battle to win the war.

A mantra that a team should do anything and everything to win as much as possible and avoid the pitfalls of losing was prevailing (from my perspective) on this site in the not so distant past. Many told precautionary tales that once a team bottoms out it's easy for them to stay that way for a long time. The culture deteriorates. The fans become apathetic. Losing breeds losing. It becomes a vicious, unavoidable cycle. But now, the Suns have been blown to smithereens and people are pleased as punch. Is it possible many of them have been proselytized into sitting with Linus and me in the pumpkin patch?

Just as tanking is a multifaceted concept, rebuilding is a polysemous word and the process can take many different forms. In fact, what some people call tanking I call rebuilding. I don't see the terms as mutually exclusive.

I have supported this rebuild (that's what I see happening here) since the time I was pining for it long before it commenced. And now, with the reigns of the Suns changing hands from oft-maligned Lance "shooting" Blanks to Ryan McGettingitDonough, it appears that I am in the majority. While the team was rolling out its "Ignite the Future" theme Ryan was busy igniting the fuse to fulminate what was left of "Next Starts Now." All that remains in the wake of this carnage are a scattering of young assets, a slew of first round draft picks and a focus on the future past this season.

The Suns have made it completely transparent where they currently stand in terms of trying to win as many games as possible while transitioning between eras vs. stripping the carcass down to it's skeleton. So how exactly have the Suns went about vindicating team Linus in preparation for the 2013-14 season?

April 22, 2013 - Fired GM Lance Blanks.

The first, and predominant, domino of the off-season. After the quagmire of the last two seasons, this decision was not only refreshing, but imperative to establishing a clear new direction.

May 7, 2013 - Hired Ryan McDonough as new general manager.

This hiring was universally well received as McDonough was viewed as somewhat of a prodigy and his ambit in his new role has been far reaching. Ryan has been playing a game of speed chess since his introductory news conference in his attempts to reshape the roster in his vision.

May 26, 2013 - Hired Jeff Hornacek as new head coach.

The Suns decided to part ways with Alvin Gentry at the midpoint of last season as he was viewed as more of a veteran friendly coach and this team was going in a different direction. The situation was botched, but the reasoning was sound. Enter interim Lindsey Hunter armed with his questionable qualifications draped in ulterior motives. Alas, the affable Hunter and his throwing players under the bus philosophy was ephemeral and his bid to secure the full time coaching gig failed. Gentry was the wrong coach for this team. Hunter was the wrong coach for any team. Hornacek has a chance to be the right guy if he can get the players to adopt his nature.

June 27, 2013 - Drafted Alex Len with 5th overall pick. Drafted Nemanja Nedovic with 30th overall pick and traded him to Golden St. Warriors for Archie Goodwin (29th overall pick) and Malcolm Lee. Drafted Alex Oriakhi 57th overall.

In lots of cases, a team bad enough to finish with the fourth worst record in the NBA is looking for instant help from their lottery selection. Not so with the Suns. Alex Len appears to be behind 25 year old Miles Plumlee, he of 55 minutes of NBA experience, and may be fighting for playing time with the incomparable Slava at the beginning of the season. These picks are win later moves, as the precocious duo of Len (20) and Goodwin (19) may not crack the top eight in minutes played this season. Although the Suns former incredible vanishing GM deserved his share of derision, he was at in the vicinity of the helm when the Suns traded with the LA Lakers for the draft pick that eventually became Goodwin. But since all accounts report that Sarver himself gave the final blessing on that deal, I'll dole out the credit to him.

June 29, 2013 - Waived Hamed Haddadi.

A minor move, but a cap space move. Only 200K of Hamed's $1.4 million was guaranteed, netting the Suns $1.2 million. Flexibility moving forward has been of paramount importance under the Suns' new management.

July 10, 2013 - Jared Dudley traded to LA Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. Suns send 2014 second round draft pick (via Toronto) to Milwaukee Bucks.

This began the real cataclysm, but this, viewed independently, wasn't necessarily a step back move. It would be easy to argue that this actually improved the Suns immediately since they just added two potential starters at the expense of one. It was also a building block towards the future, as Bledsoe became the team's best young prospect who could be expected to contribute immediately.

July 27, 2013 - Luis Scola traded to Indiana Pacers for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and top 14 protected 2014 first round draft pick.

Although this was widely viewed as a talent dump for future asset move, it may not be that clear cut. While Scola's presence and production will be hard to duplicate, the incoming tandem have a chance to be rotation players this season. So while this move still apparently makes the Suns worse, it doesn't appear to be a starter for warm bodies swap. Of course the crown jewel is still viewed as the incoming pick, but is it impossible to conceive that Plumlee may end up being better than the player that pick eventually becomes?

August 29, 2013 - Caron Butler traded to Milwaukee Bucks for Viacheslav "Slava" Kravtsov, Ish Smith and $5.6 million of cap space.

This was a talent dump. Butler was incongruous with the team's direction and fostering good will with player relations was a boon in addition to the $5.6 million in cap space this move created. Slava and Ish do seem to fit the description of barely warm bodies, though, so trading a potential starter for them had the effect of making the team instantly worse.

September 3, 2013 - Waived Michael Beasley.

A necessary end to a failed experiment.

October 25, 2013 - Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee traded to Washington Wizards for Emeka Okafor and top 12 protected 2014 first round draft pick.

More attrition. The Suns traded a quality starting center for the expiring contact of a player with a toe tag. Basically the Suns traded Marcin for the Wizards pick. The Suns were able to get Washington to take back some contracts, though. The deal would have worked financially with less going out from the Suns. More small victories.  Not only do the Suns preserve some cap space after this deal, but (by virtue of Marshall's egress) it appears that Smith will now make the team... keeping alive my hopes of hearing Al McCoy proclaim, "Ish with the swish."

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Ultimately the Suns maelstrom of activity has culminated in the exit of three of their top four rotation players from last season for unproven, low ceiling talent and draft picks. The totality of the moves make the Suns worse now while arming the team with assets to become better in the coming years.

Which leaves us with the Phoenix Suns Charlie Brown still trying to finally win kick that damn championship football.

Charlie_brown_suns_ii_medium

And despite Lucy's uncanny ability to stultify him and stifle his quest, Charlie Brown still hasn't given up.

Which leads me back to the Great Pumpkin. Charlie Brown is still trying to kick that football just like Linus is still sitting out in that pumpkin patch. The Great Pumpkin story can symbolize this as well. It is a story of belief and hope, not just divisiveness over ideology. Don't we all have our Great Pumpkins as far as this goes? Don't we all have faith in something?

So maybe the Great Pumpkin analogy is most fitting to the renascent belief that the Suns are back on track under the watch of new GM Ryan McDonough. And as the new season kicks off in just a few days there are a lot more of us out in that pumpkin patch. Considering the paradigm shift from last season's woes to the present day optimism it certainly seems like a Halloween McMiracle.

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