Bledsoe played his first three seasons with the LA Clippers, serving as Chris Paul’s reliever until he became too good to remain as a backup. The Memphis Grizzlies added two veteran point guards, who could either help them in their playoff quest or be part of future deals, through the trade. They also added a young big man.
Was this trade good for either or both the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies?
The LA Clippers’ decision to trade for the Memphis Grizzlies' Eric Bledsoe was two-fold: save financially and free up roster spots. A side benefit would be getting a younger point guard as the backup, who is also more durable than either Beverley or Rondo.
Looking at the financial side, the LA Clippers will benefit immensely in the coming season and the next. Sportskeeda.com’s Miles Lockhart explains two things that make this deal a good one financially for the Clippers.
“In this deal for Eric Bledsoe, the LA Clippers will save $30m in luxury tax payments this year while only $3.9m of his contract for the 2022-23 season is guaranteed, giving them flexibility if they choose not to keep him,” Lockhart wrote.
Additionally, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks explained in a tweet, the LA Clippers also received an $8.3 million trade exception due to the Rondo salary value. From a financial standpoint, this is definitely a win for the franchise.
There’s also the matter of freeing up the glut at the guard position and opening up the rotation for a roster spot. From a performance perspective, the 6-foot-1 point guard will help the LA Clippers offensively in ways that Beverley and Rondo have not. Bledsoe has struggled with his offense the past two seasons, but he’s still a more polished scorer than either of the guards he was traded for.
Though the LA Clippers will miss Beverley’s dogged defensive mentality, Bledsoe is no slouch on the other end of the court. He’s a two-time All-Defensive team member and could reclaim his defensive intensity playing in a backup role to Reggie Jackson.
Additionally, the LA Clippers aren’t sure if Kawhi Leonard will play at all next season and their chances of winning the title are substantially slimmer without him. Since they aren’t sure they will be able to compete for the title next year, it’s better for them to save financially for the 2021-22 season. Once Leonard is back on board for good, they can go on a spending spree as they will be one of the top title contenders.
What were the Memphis Grizzlies going to get out of this trade? The grade for the Grizzlies would depend largely on what they do following the Bledsoe deal.
Despite taking on three contracts for one, the Memphis Grizzlies are not in danger of exceeding the luxury tax line. They will, however, get salary cap flexibility next summer when the contracts of Beverley and Rondo expire, and they can offer Jaren Jackson Jr. an extension on his rookie deal.
Both players would be excellent veteran influences on the youngsters on this up-and-coming team. However, the Memphis Grizzlies have too many players on their roster for either player to remain by the end of training camp. It looks very likely that the Grizzlies will look for a package or two that will create more room for them roster-wise. This could potentially improve their team, which looks poised to head to the playoffs next season.
If the Memphis Grizzlies also decide to keep one or both of Beverly and Rondo until next year’s trade deadline, they could look to get a valuable asset or two from a team that’s also looking for experienced players. This would massively bolster their postseason chances.
With Daniel Oturu, the Memphis Grizzlies receive a young big man who played just 30 games for the LA Clippers, averaging only 1.8 points a game. But he is young enough to possibly be a contributor down the line depending on his development this offseason.
Overall Grade for LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies: B+