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Eric Bledsoe Trade Rumors: Pelicans Guard's Market 'Has Been Minimal'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe is reportedly "very available" ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline on March 25.

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Monday that the market for Bledsoe has been "minimal so far."

The Pelicans acquired the 31-year-old University of Kentucky product in a November four-team trade.

Bledsoe has averaged 11.8 points, 3.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds across 38 appearances this season. He's shooting only 42.6 percent from the field, but he's knocking down 1.8 threes per game on a 37.3 percent clip.

Between Bledsoe's outside shooting and his past accolades as a perimeter defender—he was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team in 2018-19 and second team in 2019-20—it's a bit surprising that he isn't generating at least some interest from title contenders.

His contract is likely a factor in the limited interest. He's signed through 2022-23 as part of a four-year, $70 million deal that includes a $16.9 million cap hit for the 2020-21 season.

That'd be a high price to pay for a player who'd likely be a reserve for a title hopeful, though his deal is only partially guaranteed for 2022-23, which could limit the long-term financial impact.

The Pelicans (17-22) find themselves in a tricky position heading toward the deadline. They haven't made the jump toward contention that was expected this season. Instead, they're two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies (17-18) for the 10th seed, the final spot in the playoff play-in tournament.

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Bledsoe ranks fourth on the team in minutes (29.1), so trading him would leave a sizable void, but New Orleans does have ample depth at the 2 with Josh Hart, JJ Redick and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Redick could also generate some interest ahead of the deadline as a veteran sharpshooter.

One way or another, the Pelicans are likely to make a few moves before the deadline as they attempt to spark a second-half surge into the postseason.