The NBA trade rumors continue to heat up, as the Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly discussing a deal that would send backup point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Utah Jazz for power forward Paul Millsap, according to Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com late Saturday that there is a level of mutual interest between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in exploring a deal that would feature Bledsoe as the headliner in a trade package for Jazz forward Paul Millsap.
Although two sources with knowledge of the Clippers' thinking insisted during All-Star Weekend that Bledsoe would not be moved in coming days and strongly predicted that L.A. would stand pat, two other sources indicated that the Clippers and Jazz will at least discuss the feasibility of a trade headlined by Bledsoe and Millsap before the deadline.
This reported trade wouldn’t be the prototypical blockbuster that many fans were hoping for at the deadline, but sending Millsap to L.A. and Bledsoe to Utah would be a great value for both teams.
There are hardly ever win-win trades in the NBA, but this reported deal would be a smart choice for both franchises.
Los Angeles could afford to ship Bledsoe to the Jazz because of the team’s depth at guard, boasting All-Star Chris Paul, former NBA champion Chauncey Billups, former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and this season's spot-starter alongside Paul, Willie Green.
The Clippers may have serious depth at the guard positions, but the lack thereof behind Blake Griffin at power forward is a concern.
The versatile Lamar Odom has noticeably improved during this year's tenure with the team. However, Millsap would greatly bolster the second unit and could be the long-term answer if they re-sign him in the offseason, even as Odom remains in the mix.
Bledsoe adds great bench depth for L.A., but he would be catapulted into a starting job if he were dealt to Utah. With three lackluster point guards on the roster—Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson and the now-injured Mo Williams—Bledsoe would be the top backcourt star immediately.
As much as the loss of Millsap would hurt the Jazz at power forward, the team has young star Derrick Favors waiting for his chance to shine, which could make this deal easier to swallow. Current centers Al Jefferson and Enes Kanter are also both capable of playing the 4-spot.
This deal is still very much a rumor, but the value to both sides proves this trade should be seriously considered by all parties involved.