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Report: Eric Bledsoe Traded to Clippers; Rondo, Beverley, Oturu to Grizzlies

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 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)
Derick Hingle/Associated Press

Eric Bledsoe is on the move again after the Memphis Grizzlies traded the point guard to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Memphis will reportedly receive Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu in return for the veteran. 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Grizzlies, with an already packed roster, are open-minded on the futures of all three players in Memphis -- and will likely consider trades with some of those arriving in this deal. Memphis gets salary cap flexibility in the summer of 2022 with trade.

Bobby Marks of ESPN broke down the salary-cap ramifications of the trade:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

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

The Grizzlies initially acquired the 31-year-old Bledsoe in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, which also sent Steven Adams and flipped first-round picks to Memphis in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas. 

Though Bledsoe was arguably the biggest name in the deal, it was only a temporary move, with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports immediately reporting he was "not expected to stay in Memphis."

It continues a hectic career for the Kentucky product, who was traded three other times in his career before this offseason. The most recent one sent him from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Pelicans in exchange for Jrue Holiday, who helped Milwaukee win an NBA title in 2021.

Bledsoe, meanwhile, had one of the worst years of his career in 2020-21 with New Orleans. His 12.2 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game were all his lowest since 2012-13, while the 42.1 field goal percentage was his second worst in the NBA.

The two-time All-Defensive Team player also struggled on that end of the court for a squad that finished 23rd in the NBA in defensive efficiency. It was part of a disappointing year overall for the Pelicans, which finished 31-41 despite entering with playoff expectations.

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With $18.125 million owed in 2021-22, Bledsoe became expendable this offseason. The guard also has a $19.375 salary in 2022-23, although only $3.9 million is guaranteed, per Spotrac.

The Clippers can still get plenty of value for the player if he can return to his previous form. Bledsoe has been a versatile offensive weapon in the past who twice averaged over 20 points per game, while he has a reputation as a quality perimeter defender.

Los Angeles will especially need the scoring help as Kawhi Leonard works his way back from a torn ACL. Beverley provides quality defense while Rondo is an elite passer, but it's been three years since either guard averaged double-digit points. 

Bledsoe can take some pressure off Paul George offensively and help keep the Clippers a contender in the Western Conference. 

Memphis adds two veteran guards to help provide support alongside Ja Morant while also hoping to get more out of Oturu, a 6'8" center who averaged 1.8 points in 30 appearances last season. 

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