Monday, November 29

Patrick Beverley-Eric Bledsoe swap grades: Clippers trade legacy for salary cap space with Grizzlies

Eric Bledsoe has been traded for the second time this offseason, and this time it is to Los Angeles in exchange for the Clipper with the longest tenure.

LA will reportedly send Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu to the Grizzlies for Bledsoe, which had just been acquired by Memphis from the Pelicans.

The move marks a turnaround for the Clippers as they add a scoring presence and clear the salary cap space, though it comes at the cost of a fan favorite.

Sporting News rated the exchange for both teams.

MORE: NBA free agency tracker

Clippers: B

The Clippers are adding a shooting guard who could be placed directly in the top five and will help them save money in the 2021-22 season.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that Los Angeles will save $ 30 million in luxury tax payments and get a business exception of $ 8.3 million. And by moving three players to one, the team will narrow its roster to 14 players with guaranteed deals instead of 16.

Bledsoe will also bring offense to a team that is losing to Kawhi Leonard (knee surgery) for most, if not all, of the 2021-22 season. Bledsoe is a better scorer than Beverley and Rondo, but he is far from the peak of his career. He averaged 12.2 points per game last year for the Pelicans, the fourth straight season in which he dropped his scoring average. That’s a far cry from his consecutive 20-plus-point-per-game seasons with the Suns in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Still, he’s a notable improvement over Beverley and Rondo, and he could potentially bounce back when he returns to where he started his career.

Beverley and Rondo weren’t going to help much on offense. Beverley hasn’t averaged double-digit points since the 2017-18 season; Rondo did it for the last time in the 2015-16 campaign. The real impact of his loss is for the fans. Beverley has been with the Clippers longer than any other player on the active roster. He was a thorn in the side of other teams and gave Los Angeles an aggressive defender, sometimes through fault. It helped ease the transition from the Chris Paul era to the Leonard era.

Fans won’t be happy to see Beverley move, but he was probably slated to back Jackson and Rondo played a huge role for the team after he was acquired from the Hawks last season. Bledsoe doesn’t add as much offense as a team might expect from a popular player like Beverley, but he improves on the Clippers.

Grizzlies: B

It may not make sense to qualify the Grizzlies’ return, as both Beverley and Rondo could be on the move before they even put on a Memphis uniform.

There is no obvious role for either player other than as veteran influences on younger players like Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks. Right now, Beverley and Rondo think they’ll be behind Morant at point guard, although Beverley could move behind Brooks as a shooting guard. Memphis also has Tyus Jones and De’Anthony Melton to take minutes at guard positions.

Bledsoe received a guaranteed $ 3.9 million for the 2022-23 season, although the total could reach nearly $ 20 million, while Beverley and Rondo will be unrestricted free agents after the 21-22 season. If Memphis sticks with the two, they’ll go off the books and clear cap space in a season the Grizzlies might be better prepared to compete. If they are already considering trades, they now have two players with contracts that will be easier to move than Bledsoe’s.

Oturu is a bit wild. The 33rd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, he appeared in 30 games for Los Angeles last season and averaged just 5.4 minutes, 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds. But the 6-10 center is only 21 and therefore offers advantages. He had a strong campaign in his final college season with Minnesota, averaging 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 2019-20. He could also be traded, or the team could seek to carve out a role for him.

The Grizzlies part ways with a veteran with two years remaining on his contract for two veterans who have one year left each and a flying youth. They are not in a drastically different place than they were before the deal.

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