Though the sides remain far apart in negotiations, Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough said he thinks the team will be able to reach a deal with restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe.
"Our strong preference would be to have Eric back in a Phoenix Suns uniform," McDonough told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Monday. "We've had productive dialogue with Eric's representatives.
"It's just a process. The free agency process goes different lengths of time for different players."
It has been reported that the Suns offered the former University of Kentucky star a four-year, $48 million contract. Bledsoe is reported to be requesting a maximum contract, which would be $80 million for five years.
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Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game in his first season with the Suns, but he missed part of the year with a knee injury.
"We've had our initial conversations and made offers and counter-offers, and we'll continue to talk to them and try to work something out. I think at the end of the day we will," McDonough said in a report on ArizonaSports.com. "As you guys know, Eric has been a big part of our team, he had a terrific year this past year and hopefully is a big part of our team going forward."
When asked about trade rumors involving Bledsoe, McDonough told the radio show hosts: "We're certainly not exploring trades," he said. "Do we get occasional trade calls? Yeah, we get occasional trade calls about all of the guys on our roster so we want him back, I think he will be back at the end of the day, and proactively looking to trade him is certainly not something we're looking to do."