Eric Bledsoe Trade Rumors: Clippers Right to Call off Talks with Celtics

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2013

January 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe (12) controls the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers have ended talks with the Boston Celtics regarding a deal for veteran big man Kevin Garnett. Given how such a deal would have required Los Angeles to part with dynamic point guard Eric Bledsoe, this is probably one of the best front office decisions in the team's history.

In the proposed deal, Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan would have been sent to Boston in exchange for Garnett. At the same time, the Clippers would have lost some major offseason insurance.

Star point guard Chris Paul is set to hit the open market in July and, while there is no reason to believe that he wouldn't stay in Los Angeles, the number of other teams that will be lining up to land his services is reason enough to hang onto Bledsoe. Believe it or not, the former Kentucky Wildcat has done a great job as a backup this season.

Bledsoe is only averaging 9.6 points and 3.3 assists in 21.8 minutes per game, but has been great on the defensive end. He has averaged 1.6 steals per contest and has also shot an astounding 43 percent from long range.

Bledsoe's per 36 numbers are even better. In that scenario, he posts 15.9 points and 5.5 assists per game, plus 2.7 steals. This month alone, thanks to filling in for an injured Paul, he is averaging 12.8 points and five assists.

The 23-year-old is also an incredible dunker, considering how he is just 6'1", 195 pounds. In Vinny Del Negro's fast-paced game known as "Lob City," Bledsoe is basically a perfect fit.

This is why Clippers GM Gary Sacks was right to end trade talks with the Celtics. Suppose that Bledsoe was traded, but Chris Paul chose to sign with another team this summer. Los Angeles would instantly be scrambling to find a point guard to fill the gaping void that would exist.

It doesn't help that the point guard market beyond Paul this summer will be fairly weak, with the exception of maybe Mo Williams, but not even he would be able to fill the potential hole left in Lob City. Sacks could try and find another floor general via a trade, but his best trade chips are too essential to the Clippers' future.

Now that Bledsoe appears to be off the table, the Clippers have a viable backup plan in the event of Paul's departure. Not only do they have a suitable replacement for Paul, but one that knows the system and has proven capable of shining in it.

That all would have gone down the drain had Sacks pulled the trigger on a deal for Garnett, thus making his decision to terminate negotiations one of the best moves of deadline season.