Restricted free agency can be a tough situation for a player and Eric Bledsoe's current position with the Phoenix Suns illustrates that. On one hand he is a high upside talent but as a restricted free agent he has little to no leverage in negotiations with the Suns. The situation has played itself out all summer and Bledsoe may be forced to roll the dice and sign Phoenix's qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Suns are well aware that this could be a possibility and have reportedly began exploring sign and trade possibilities for Bledsoe. To this point there hasn't been any chatter surrounding the Atlanta Hawks and Bledsoe but Upside Motor's Sam Vecenie writes that the Hawks might be the best fit. They are one of few competitive teams left with enough cap space to make a substantial offer for Bledsoe.
How would they do it? After the Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott deals become official, the Hawks will have somewhere around $9 million in cap space. But without them having gone through yet, the team has about $12.7 million in cap space. It's probably fair to assume that these deals haven't become official yet because the Hawks can go over the cap to complete them, and they want to keep as much financial maneuverability as they can. With $12.7 million in tow, the Hawks could conceivably offer Dennis Schroeder, Adreian Payne, and a first rounder for Bledsoe, sign him to some contract above what the Suns have offered him, and become a contender that hasn't quite reached its ceiling in the East.
The sticky part of the equation is how much would Danny Ferry be willing to offer Bledsoe who has reportedly turned down a 4-year, $48 million offer from the Suns. He is reportedly seeking a max deal but with things going sour in Phoenix, he might jump at the chance to escape the desert.
A move like this wouldn't come without risks. Bledsoe has a ton of upside but a team would be investing a large sum of money on a player that missed half of last season due to a knee injury. Still it would be an avenue to a big improvement for the roster. The Hawks haven't had much luck in luring the big name free agents to Atlanta and going the trade route might be necessary.
Again there isn't anything out there that suggests that this could happen but it is something to think about.