The Los Angeles Clippers just overhauled their backcourt and added a familiar face in the process.
Per The Athletic’s John Hollinger, the trade will save the Clippers approximately $25 million in luxury tax payments, while the Grizzlies will save $3.9 million in salary-cap room next season.
Eric Bledsoe returns to Los Angeles
The move also reunites Bledsoe with the team where he started his career after the 2010 draft. Bledsoe saw limited playing time in his first Clippers stint due to the presence of Chris Paul and saw an increase in minutes only after a trade to the Phoenix Suns.
Since then, Bledsoe has performed like a capable point guard, but saw his value nosedive after a four-year, $70 million extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks eventually unloaded him as part of the Jrue Holiday trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, who sent him to Memphis earlier this offseason.
Bledsoe averaged 12.2 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game with New Orleans while shooting 42.1 percent (34.1 percent from deep). He’s also only a season removed from a second-team All Defense selection.
With the Clippers, Bledsoe figures to split time in the backcourt with Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann, two players who increased their value enough last postseason to make the team comfortable trading away two veteran guards.
Clippers trade away longest-tenured player
It’s the end of an era for the Clippers and Beverley, who was the team’s longest-tenured player (the title now belongs to … Ivica Zubac, who joined the team in Feb. 2019).
In Beverley’s four seasons in Los Angeles, the team transitioned from its post-Chris Paul era to its current contender status with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Beverley was never known for his offensive production, but his defense, leadership and 39.5 percent 3-point shooting with the Clippers made him an important player.
Rondo exits the Clippers after a half-season with the team, who traded for him from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Lou Williams. While he had his moments in Los Angeles, he was a non-factor in the postseason and may be a buyout candidate for Memphis.
Oturu was the 33rd overall pick of the 2020 draft and saw little non-garbage time minutes as a rookie.
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