The Clippers had a logjam at the point guard spot: Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, the just re-signed Reggie Jackson, and Jason Preston. And in practice, Paul George has taken on a lot of the primary shot creation duties in the past year, serving more as a traditional point guard.
The Clippers cleared out that logjam — and may have created one for the Grizzlies — with a trade that brings Eric Bledsoe back home. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the trade.
The Los Angeles Clippers are trading Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Eric Bledsoe, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 16, 2021
This was a pretty random and unexpected trade. It also doesn’t really move the needle for either side.
For the Clippers, it lowers their payroll and will save them about $25-$30 million once the luxury tax is figured in, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Clippers also create an $8.3 million trade exception they can use later to bring in a player.
On the court, this leaves the Clippers a point guard rotation where Bledsoe and Jackson get the bulk of the minutes, two score-first guards who can soak up some of the offense lost with Kawhi Leonard likely out for the season. Bledsoe makes $18.1 million this season but only has $3.9 million of next season’s contract guaranteed. Bledsoe was drafted by the Clippers and spent the first three seasons of his career there, but with Chris Paul in Los Angeles at the time there was a ceiling for Bledsoe’s role and minutes.
In Beverley, the Clippers give up a player who was at the heart of their fire and personality a couple of years ago, but his role had changed. Rumors the Clippers were willing to trade him had bounced around the league for a year, but it never felt likely.
For the Grizzlies, other moves will follow. Ja Morant is the starting point guard now and into the foreseeable future, with Tyus Jones solidly behind him. Bledsoe — acquired in the Steven Adams/Jonas Valenciunas trade with the Pelicans — was never a fit. Patrick Beverley is a good fit in a grit-and-grind kind of way and can bring some fire and defense, but more likely he is flipped to a contender at some point.
Grit and Grind. Let’s GO🏀🏀
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) August 16, 2021
Rondo may be traded again as well, or bought-out, if he’s willing to take a discount. The Grizzlies currently have 16 guaranteed contracts, one of those has to come off the books by the start of training camp. The most likely option in Daniel Oturu gets waived, but other things could happen.
The Grizzlies turned Bledsoe’s hard-to-move contract into three more tradable ones, which may be the end game.