Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Bledsoe Should Not Be Dealt at the NBA Trade Deadline

Todd Pheifer@tpheiferAnalyst IIIFebruary 18, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27:  Eric Bledsoe #12 of the Los Angeles Clippers scores on a layup in front of  teammate Willie Green #34 and Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on January 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers have a good thing going this year. Why mess with a solid formula? And yet, there are rumors.

Eric Bledsoe to the Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett (via Yahoo Sports).

Eric Bledsoe to the Utah Jazz for Paul Millsap (via NBC Sports).

Could this deal actually go down?

Latest w/ @espnsteinline Clips, Jazz have mutual interest in Bledsoe & Millsap espn.go.com/los-angeles/nb…

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 17, 2013

Here’s a thought: How about Eric Bledsoe stays with the Clippers for many years to come?

As noted by ESPN, “The Clippers have been telling teams for weeks they value Bledsoe too highly to move him.” You think?

Keeping Bledsoe is a good strategy. Stick with that thought process.

It is a little hard to understand why the Clippers would want to move someone like Bledsoe. He is a backup, but he is a very valuable backup. He is the type of backup that could arguably start for a lot of teams, including the Clippers if Chris Paul were not there.

Teams that intend to succeed in the playoffs need depth. Key depth.

There is also the lingering issue of health at point guard. As amazing as Chris Paul is, CP3 is not the most durable point guard in NBA history. Paul has never played in all 82 games and this year he has only played in 44 of 56 games.

Remember Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson? Bledsoe is not exactly the same type of player, but for the Clippers he plays a little bit of that role. Bledsoe is the key to keeping that second unit productive, and his 3.3 assists per game are invaluable.

Interestingly, Bledsoe is one of only three Clippers that have played in all 56 games this season. DeAndre Jordan and Lamar Odom are the other two.

Now, could a healthy Chauncey Billups play a Bledsoe-like role for the Clippers? To an extent, but Billups is 36 and coming off a major injury. Bledsoe is 23 and still may not have reached his full potential.

The rumored moves both seem to represent potential logjams. If you bring in Millsap, will he back up Blake Griffin after starting for Utah? If you bring in Kevin Garnett, would he displace Jordan?

With Garnett, you are talking about another old guy for a young guy. Garnett may indeed help in the short term. However, do you trade a 24-year-old center for a 36-year-old power forward/center, even one that is still playing at a high level?

Obviously the Clippers have two dilemmas. They must decide if they have enough talent to make a serious title run. In addition, the team must convince Paul that the franchise is willing to make the necessary moves to pursue a championship. In order for CP3 to re-sign with Los Angeles, he will need to feel like the team is going to be a contender for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the Clippers do need to make a move before the trade deadline. However, Bledsoe needs to stay in Los Angeles.