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Clippers' Updated Roster, Salary Cap After Trading Rondo, Beverley for Bledsoe

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 16, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) drives with the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
AP Photo/Derick Hingle

The Los Angeles Clippers further tweaked their roster on Sunday, reportedly acquiring veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

So, how does the Clippers depth chart look after the deal? 

  • PG: Reggie Jackson / Eric Bledsoe / Jason Preston
  • SG: Paul George / Terance Mann / Keon Johnson / Brandon Boston Jr. 
  • SF: Kawhi Leonard (when healthy) / Luke Kennard / Justise Winslow
  • PF: Nicolas Batum / Marcus Morris Sr.
  • C: Serge Ibaka / Ivica Zubac / DeMarcus Cousins

The deal will offer the Clippers some luxury tax relief, taking their active roster cap from $174.1 million to approximately $168.9 million. 

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Cap ramifications for LAC/MEM:<br><br>LAC<br>🏀Eric Bledsoe: $18.1M and $19.4M ($3.9M GTY)<br>💰LAC will see their tax bill drop from $125M to $95M (savings of $30M)<br>💰$8.3M TE for LAC<br><br>MEM<br>🏀Patrick Beverley: $14.3M<br>🏀Rajon Rondo: $7.5M ($750K likely bonus)<br>🏀Daniel Oturu: $1.5M

John Hollinger @johnhollinger

In terms of reasons for this trade, Grizzlies freed up $3.9M in cap room next year and get a free look at developing Oturu, while Clippers lowered their luxury tax bill by about $25M.

Bledsoe, 31, has had quite the offseason. He was first traded to the Grizzlies alongside Steven Adams and multiple draft picks, with Jonas Valanciunas and picks heading back to the New Orleans Pelicans. 

But he was never expected to remain with the Grizzlies:

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Eric Bledsoe, who New Orleans included in a trade package, is not expected to stay in Memphis, league sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/YahooSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YahooSports</a>.

His addition to the Clippers is an interesting one. He averaged just 12.2 points per game last year, his worst mark since the 2012-13 season, shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from three. He also struggled as a playmaker last year, averaging just 3.8 assists per game. 

Bledsoe is a worse shooter than Beverley (39.7 percent from three last year) and a worse playmaker than Rondo (5.8 APG with the Clippers). In the past, he would have been considered a better half-court scorer than both, though he didn't exactly shine in that regard last year. 

But while his offense output has sagged in recent years, he continues to be an excellent defender. The Clippers might not see as much of a downgrade on defense, if at all, as fans might think.

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Bled’s honestly a better defender. He’s outrageously good. Great in transition as well. <br><br>Clippers lose shooting in the deal but with Mann they have internal development. <a href="https://t.co/lXucuGV3Ey">https://t.co/lXucuGV3Ey</a>

The trade also provides a sense of clarity for playing time, as the Clippers had a logjam at point guard with Reggie Jackson entrenching himself as the starter and Rondo and Beverley fighting for minutes.

Steve Jones Jr. @stevejones20

Bledsoe back to the Clippers is a crazy story arc. I always figured Bledsoe would get back to production on a quality team with less expectations. I did not think the Clippers would trade *two* guards to get him but that might just be a nod to Reggie Jackson’s emergence. <a href="https://t.co/tAOR00iVDk">https://t.co/tAOR00iVDk</a>

Given the luxury tax savings that accompanied this transaction, that clarity is worth a whole lot.