With Eric Bledsoe still sitting out on the restricted free-agent market, the Phoenix Suns have yet to answer their biggest offseason question.
Still, optimism is rightfully high in the desert after the Suns turned what many thought would be a throwaway season into a furious playoff push that netted them 48 victories while falling just short of a ticket to the big dance.
Phoenix cannot expect a repeat performance without bringing Bledsoe back, but the news on that front is positive. Potential suitors have largely invested their cap space elsewhere, and even if an offer sheet surfaces at some point, the Suns would still have the option to match it.
"We'll continue to work as hard as we can within that restricted free agency system established by the collective bargaining agreement," Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. "We continue to hope and expect that he will remain in a Suns uniform."
Assuming Bledsoe stays, the Suns will return most key members from last year's team— though 6'11" sniper Channing Frye signed with the Orlando Magic this summer—along with several fresh faces who should add to their depth.
Starting gigs could prove hard to come by, with Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and P.J. Tucker primed to reprise their roles from last season. However, the frontcourt could see some heated position battles, as Markieff Morris and Anthony Tolliver are set to lock horns for Frye's old spot, while sophomore Alex Len could challenge Miles Plumlee at center.
The Suns have new pieces for coach Jeff Hornacek to fit into his uptempo puzzle, leaving a few questions unanswered regarding how this team will proceed. But those inquiries only add to the intrigue surrounding the Western Conference's rising Suns.