The One 2014 Free Agent Each NBA Team Should Already Be Eyeing Los Angeles Lakers: Eric Bledsoe, PG

If the Los Angeles Lakers aren’tgoing to fire Mike D’Antoni this summer, they’ll need to make a big free-agent splash to appease Kobe Bryant.

Throwing out a major contract offer for Phoenix Suns combo guard Eric Bledsoe would do the trick.

Playing alongside Goran Dragic this year, Bledsoe has been a terrifying, dynamic freak of nature. He’s averaging 17.9 points, 5.6 dimes, 4.8 boards and 1.6 steals in only 33.1 minutes per game and posting a career-best PER of 19.6 in the process.

Bledsoe missed two months of the season after tearing his meniscus at the start of 2014, but he’s looked no worse for the wear since returning. He’s averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per contest over the past month, assisting on 25.8 percentof the Suns’ field goals.

When Dragic missed three games early in the season, Bledsoestepped in capably as Phoenix’s starting point guard, averaging 17.2 points on 62.9 percent shooting, 6.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He’s fully capable of playing either backcourt position, which should pique the Lakers’ interest given Bryant’s demonstrated interest in operating with the ball in his hands.

With L.A. set to have roughly $25 million in cap space this summer (not counting its top-10 draft pick), it could throw out a major offer for Bledsoe, who’s a restricted free agent, in the hopes that Phoenix doesn’t match. Better yet, it’d be a major middle finger to the other L.A. franchise, which sent Bledsoe to Phoenix last summer for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley.

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