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How Trading Bledsoe for Rondo, Beverley Impacts Grizzlies' Roster, Salary Cap

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies are stockpiling point guards for next season after reportedly acquiring Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Beverley, Rondo and Daniel Oturu will go to the Grizzlies with the Los Angeles Clippers receiving Eric Bledsoe in return. 

Wojnarowski added the Grizzlies are "open-minded on the futures" of all three players they will receive in the trade, including the possibility of additional trades at some point. 

Grizzlies Active Roster and Average Salary

Steven Adams, C: $17,073,171

Patrick Beverley, PG: $14,320,989

Dillon Brooks, SG: $12,200,000

Kyle Anderson, SF: $9,937,150

Ja Morant, PG: $9,603,360

Jaren Jackson Jr., PF: $9,180,560

De'Anthony Melton, SG: $8,805,976

Tyus Jones, PG: $8,376,286

Rajon Rondo, PG: $8,250,000

Ziaire Williams, SG: $4,373,160

Brandon Clarke, SF: $2,726,880

John Konchar, SG: $2,200,000

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Desmond Bane, SG: $2,033,160

Santi Aldama, PF: $1,994,520

Sam Merrill, SG: $1,517,981 (non-guaranteed)

Daniel Oturu, C: $1,517,981

Xavier Tillman, PF: $1,517,981

Assuming all three players remain on Memphis' roster for the time being, the main attraction for the organization in this deal is cap flexibility after next season. 

The Grizzlies have a number of big decisions to make that will require them to have maximum cap flexibility. Notably, Jaren Jackson Jr. is eligible for a rookie extension this offseason. 

General manager Zach Kleiman has told reporters getting a new deal done with Jackson is a priority. 

"I think we're going to be our best selves over time with Jaren," Kleiman said earlier this month. "Spacing the floor, attacking, creating, defensively taking advantage of the versatility he brings to the table."

The biggest looming deal for the Grizzlies, though, will be Ja Morant's extension. He is eligible to sign an extension next summer worth up to $173 million over five years. 

Prior to this trade, the Grizzlies had $88.09 million in salary commitments on their books for 2022-23. 

Bledsoe's current contract has a partial guarantee of $3.9 million in 2022-23. That turns into a $19.375 million deal if he's on the roster on June 30, 2022, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

By taking the $3.9 million partial guarantee for Bledsoe off the books, the Grizzlies could have just $85 million in salary commitments next season.

Beverley is set to make $14.3 million in 2021-22, the final year of his contract. Rondo will earn $7.5 million next season before becoming a free agent in the summer of 2022. Oturu is making a minimum salary of $1.52 million in the upcoming season and has a $1.92 million qualifying offer for 2022-23. 

The 33-year-old Beverley has been a classic three-and-D player during his nine years in the NBA, shooting 38.2 percent from three-point range in his career while being named to three All-Defense teams. He was first-team All-Defense in 2016-17 while a member of the Houston Rockets.

The defensive prowess has been a hallmark of Beverley's game throughout his career, often getting under the skin of opposing players with his hard-nosed play. 

This skill set is a reason he has remained a key part of the Clippers rotation despite modest offensive numbers. He averaged just 7.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game during his injury-filled 2020-21 season, but the Clippers were still 9.1 points better per 100 possessions when he was on the court, per Basketball Reference. 

Only All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George had better numbers among Clippers players last season.

Rondo was acquired by Los Angeles at the trade deadline to provide head coach Tyronn Lue with another veteran player for the stretch run. He played well in a limited role during the regular season, averaging 7.6 points on 43.2 percent three-point shooting and 5.8 assists in 18 games the Clippers. 

Regardless of what the Grizzlies decide to do with their new acquisitions, this trade should have very positive long-term ramifications on the franchise if they can re-sign Morant and Jackson. 

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