After the Phoenix Suns lost their first three games of the season in lopsided fashion, point guard Eric Bledsoe famously tweeted, “I don’t wanna be here”.
Everyone viewed that as an obvious trade request, but Bledsoe reportedly told Suns general manager Ryan McDonough that he was referring to being at a hair salon.
McDonough simply didn’t believe him and publicly stated that Bledsoe will not be with the team moving forward.
After firing head coach Earl Watson over the weekend and then advising Bledsoe to stay home, the Suns ironically won their first game of the season on Monday.
On Tuesday, McDonough explained his stance on Bledsoe in a local radio interview, saying that he thinks the point guard is a good person deep down, but he has bad influencers around him.
"I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it," McDonough said on Arizona Sports radio 98.7. "I think Eric's a good person. I think he's unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people. I think generally, any time you sign a contract, it doesn't only work one way. It works both ways, and for a guy with years on his contract to say or intimate he didn't want to be here anymore, I didn't find that to be appropriate, and I think if he says he wants to be a leader, that's the opposite of what a leader does and the opposite of what leadership is. So I think that's all I'm going to say about that.”
McDonough revealed who he thought the bad advice was coming from: Bledsoe’s agent Rich Paul, who also happens to represent LeBron James.
"I think, just my opinion, the shift comes from contractual demands made by his representatives," McDonough said, "and that's what I was referring to when I said I think he got bad advice.”
Surprisingly, the GM acknowledged that the team shut Bledsoe down against his will at the end of last season. He was a healthy scratch over the team's final 15 games.
"He was certainly hurt by getting shut down last year, and we understand that and respect that," McDonough noted. "At the same time, it's a new year. He has multiple years left on his contract. I talked to Eric, met with him a couple times before the season started and he said he was excited about our group, excited to play with the young guys and thought we had a good thing going here."
Another surprising bit of information was also reported on Wednesday. Chris Haynes of ESPN wrote that Bledsoe requested a trade to the front office during the preseason but the team didn't honor it.
“The 27-year-old point guard had met with Suns owner Robert Sarver and McDonough during the preseason and requested a trade, sources told ESPN. Frustrated with the direction of the team, its whiffs in free agency and questionable personnel moves during his four years with the franchise, Bledsoe expressed that it was time he moved on, sources said. Bledsoe was then told by management, according to sources, that the team had underperformed ever since he was given starting point guard responsibilities,” Haynes reported.
It remains to be seen where Bledsoe ends up, but things could certainly get uglier every day moving forward until a deal is made.