Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers Trade Rumors: Los Angeles Must Get Better Return in Eric Bledsoe Trade

Apr 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe (12) brings the ball up court during game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. Memphis won 104-83. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2013

Eric Bledsoe is an extremely talented young player, and the Los Angeles Clippers have to make sure they are not giving him up for nothing.

In three years in the NBA, the point guard has shown plenty of potential. Last season, he averaged 8.5 points, 3.1 assists and three rebounds per game. Unsurprisingly, he is much better when he starts.

When Chris Paul was out this year and Bledsoe was able to start at point guard, he averaged 14.2 points, 5.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He also made 43.8 percent of three-point shots in the 12 games.

Although some could argue this is a small sample size, he has displayed his ability as a playmaker plenty of times when running the point. If he does get this opportunity to be a starter, he could be an All-Star.

The problem is that the Clippers already have an All-Star point guard in Paul. If the team is able to re-sign the free agent, there is little need to keep Bledsoe.

As a result, the organization has been actively shopping the point guard all around the league over the past week.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel discussed the possibility of Bledsoe being shipped to the Orlando Magic along with Caron Butler in return for Arron Afflalo.

NESN reported that a trade for Danny Granger is also possible with the Indiana Pacers.

However, these are just the smaller swaps. The Clippers are also rumored to be involved in a few blockbuster trades that could take place over the next few weeks.

Talks with the Boston Celtics for coach Doc Rivers and power forward Kevin Garnett have centered on Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Of course, this deal appears to now be finished according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

Still, it is something that should not be counted out until everything is settled. These two teams are fully capable of resuming talks at any time.

Most recently, however, Bledsoe has been paired with Blake Griffin in a possible move to acquire Dwight Howard, according to Stein:

There are a lot of big names being discussed, although it still seems as though the Clippers are too eager to part with the youngster.

First, there is no guarantee that Paul will return to Los Angeles next season. He admitted to being angry at the organization following the firing of Vinny Del Negro. He also is being pursued by the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and others. 

If Paul does not re-sign with the club, Bledsoe will be vital in maintaining the high level of success that the Clippers have enjoyed over the past few years.

On the other hand, there would be no problem in having an elite backup if Paul were to return.

Still, it makes sense for the Clippers to get some value in return for the talented player that can help immediately. However, none of these trades would be enough for a 23-year-old point guard who could be a star on his new team.

If Los Angeles plans on trading Bledsoe, the team better make sure it gets a game-changer in return who can help the squad contend for a championship next season. Otherwise, there would be no problem in keeping Bledsoe for another year.

 

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