Being a restricted free agent sucks.
The last two major pieces of free agency this summer have been stuck in a holding pattern because of restricted free agency. Potential suitors have been scared off of Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe knowing full well the Pistons and Suns are likely to match any offer they would receive. So Monroe and Bledsoe, two borderline all stars potentially, are stuck in limbo waiting.
Will no one spend the money to sign them?
The frank point is that right now, few teams have the money to spend on these big-name free agents. Not at prices the players are willing to get paid to play for. They could very well be heading toward accepting the qualifying offer and re-signing with their teams for one year and entering unrestricted free agency next year.
No one really wants that.
The Suns and Sixers are the only two teams with serious cap room, according to Basketball Insiders. The Suns have about $11.3 million in room and a good chunk of that will go to Bledsoe. Probably all of it and more under the Bird exception. The Sixers are still rebuilding and likely will not spend any of their $23.6 million in cap room on a player like Monroe or Bledsoe. Not at this point, at least.
So back to purgatory they go.
The waiting game on these restricted free agents have also clearly handicapped their teams. From Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
The Detroit Pistons have $1.43 million in space, but are carrying a $10.216 million cap hold on their qualifying offer to Greg Monroe. Pistons president Stan Van Gundy has labeled retaining Monroe as the team’s top offseason priority, but it’s clear they are not willing to give a max offer. With almost no money left in the market, they are simply playing the waiting game. There were reports that the Phoenix Suns may make an offer to Monroe, but it’s likely that Detroit matches an offer sheet.
The Phoenix Suns have roughly $12.759 million available under the cap and could free up an additional $915,000 by renouncing the cap hold on Leandro Barbosa. The Suns do have a $6.56 million qualifying offer out to Eric Bledsoe. There have been reports that the Suns might issue an offer to Pistons free agent Greg Monroe, and could do a deal starting at $13.6 million and still be able to retain Bledsoe using his Bird rights. The Suns and Bledsoe remain somewhat apart on a deal,with reports suggesting that a four-year, $48 million offer was made by the Suns and turned away by Bledsoe.
As Kyler later describes, for some unknown reason neither Monroe or Bledose are generating “overpay to get him” offers like Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons did. Both these players are already pretty good and would contribute to a team. If anything, it seems like some team out there would want to stick it to Detroit or Phoenix and try to land them with a bad deal (or a more punitive deal).
That is not happening in this market. All the money appears to be gone and Monroe and Bledsoe are the ones without a chair to sit on when the music stopped.
That is the awful part about restricted free agency. They are handicapped by the teams that drafted them (or hold their rookie contract in Bledsoe’s case).
Will someone please give these guys some money?