Ultimately, the Suns had no intentions of letting Eric Bledsoe walk in free agency.
Ever since the team acquired the 6-foot-1 point guard from the Clippers last summer, Phoenix has been trying to negotiate a long term contract.
Following a lengthy negotiation process, the two sides finally agreed to a deal, as Bledsoe will make $70 million over the next five seasons.
Originally, the team had until Oct. 31 last year to strike an agreement, or potentially lose him as a restricted free agent this summer.
Once the deadline passed, the both Bledsoe and the organization agreed to resume talks after the season.
Only during his first season in the desert, the 24-year-old proved to be a star in the making. It wasn’t just his 17.7 points on 47.7 percent shooting from the field, or the 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game that made him a commodity.
When Bledsoe was on the court, the Suns were clearly a better team.
Limited to just 43 games because of a knee injury that required surgery in the middle of the year, Bledsoe was still a key contributor to an unexpected season in Phoenix.
Projected to be a lottery bound team because of its youth, the Suns instead remained in the playoff hunt until the final week of the regular season, only to be beat out by Memphis and Dallas for the final two post season berths.
The Suns went 28-15 with Bledsoe in the lineup and from the opening night of the season, it was apparent the two sides were a perfect match.
In his first game with Phoenix, Bledsoe led the team to a victory over the Trail Blazers by pouring in 22 points along with seven rebounds, six assists and a steal.
After spending the first three seasons of his career in Los Angeles backing up Chris Paul, Bledsoe proved he was capable of handling an extended workload with the Suns.
Even though he was playing out of position, often lining up as the shooting guard while Goran Dragic played the point, the former Kentucky star excelled.
Along with his stellar averages, Bledsoe posted four double-doubles and despite his smaller frame, proved to be one of the best rebounding guards in the league, tallying five or more in 20 of his appearances.
His ability to contribute in a multitude of ways made him one of the more heavily pursued players this summer, but with the Suns ability to match any offer presented, the maximum contract he was seeking never was officially offered.
Negotiations between Bledsoe and the Suns broke down, as the Suns weren’t willing to move past the four-year $48 million contrct they initially offered.
The team selected Tyler Ennis with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, it appeared the team was ready to play next season without him.
Other suitors began to emerge, with the Lakers emerging as a potential destination, but they would have to try and trade for him as they lacked the cap space to give him the max contract he was seeking.
Minnesota, flush with cap space after it decided to deal Kevin Love instead of losing him in free agency next summer, signed Bledsoe to a four-year $63 million deal, the largest it could possibly offer.
Since Bledsoe was a restricted free agent, the Suns had the right to match the deal, or make a counter offer.
The deal Phoenix came back with was a massive one.
Phoenix relented in his stance against a maximum contract and instead tacked on another year, an advantage presented to teams wanting to resign their own players and an additional $7 million.
The deal still leaves the Suns $4.3 million under the salary cap and of course, the team is rumored to be pursuing another guard.
Phoenix is hoping to land Zoran Dragic, Goran’s younger brother, after he was impressive during the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, averaging 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.3 assists a game for Slovenia this summer in Spain.
No matter who is joining him in the back court, following Wednesday’s agreement on a new contract, it’s clear Phoenix is committed to Bledsoe being a primary component of the team.