Next up in the 213 Hoops roundtable agenda is the Eric Bledsoe trade, a move which was somewhat controversial for the Clippers.
Lucas Hann: B-
I get the trade. I get it. It makes sense to me; the Clips cleared the roster spots they needed to clear and made the sidegrade they needed to make in order to get a guy who creates a far higher volume of dribble penetration chances with Kawhi Leonard sidelined. Frankly, they needed a point guard who was better at getting downhill even before Kawhi got hurt–it was something we talked about all the time last year. And if the loss is going to be Beverley, adding an All-Defense point of attack guy in Bledsoe helps mitigate the negative impact on the defensive end more than going for a guy like John Wall, who would create high-volume offense but be a negative on D. So, I get the Bledsoe trade. It’s solid, it grades out as a low B for me. It’s just not a huge win.
Kenneth Armstrong: B+
This grade is less based on Bledsoe as a player and more so on the Clippers ability to turn three players into one, solving the logjam at guard, getting younger, and creating a more favorable financial situation. We’ll see if Bledsoe can rebound after an underwhelming stint with the Pelicans but, regardless, the Clippers made a good business decision with this trade.
Joey Linn: C
After getting over the emotional impact that trading away Patrick Beverley had, the move for Bledsoe can be justified; however, only to an extent. While Bledsoe does bring an increased ability to penetrate and collapse the defense, his decision making has never been proficient. This combined with his lack of an outside shot has often inhibited his team’s ability in the playoffs. While this is all true, I also believe that the Clippers have a roster that is constructed perfectly to compliment Bledsoe’s strengths. I believe he will fit in just fine with the Clippers, but I do not believe he was worth Patrick Beverley. This grade is subject to change depending on what the Clippers do with the trade exception that this deal created.
Ralston Dacanay: B+
The Clippers needed to make some roster space, especially in a year with Kawhi Leonard being out for the foreseeable future and the team still needing another center. As much as it pains me to see Patrick Beverley go, his injury questions made him a luxury that the currently Kawhi-less Clippers couldn’t afford for the upcoming regular season. Meanwhile, being able to get off Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu without attaching picks was an automatic win. Eric Bledsoe, while nowhere near the same player he was a decade ago, was one of my huge personal favorites back in the Lob City days. For now, the move should be looked at as one that sets the team up for other moves. However, if Bledsoe were to regain some of his form, he could be a great defender and add some much-needed downhill ability to the team. I would like to see him as the team’s backup point guard this year and will continue to keep an eye on if/how the $8.25M trade exception generated from this deal gets used.
Shapan Debnath: B
Rondo and Oturu were sunk costs that were essentially tacked onto this deal, but I will truly miss Pat Bev. As much of a true Clipper Pat has been, the biggest issue about him for years has been his availability, and Eric Bledsoe will simply be more available. In a year without Kawhi Leonard, availability and usage in the regular season means more than usual, and I can see Bledsoe’s fit with this team over Beverley’s in that case. Still, I miss Pat.
Cole Huff: B-
It’s always tough to see a fan favorite go, and it’ll take a while for me to get used to seeing Pat in another uniform. Pat’s leadership and vocal presence being removed from this team is going to leave a huge hole to that’ll need to be filled. I’m not sure how it’ll be addressed, but it’s not something to gloss over. That being said, I’m fine with the trade.
Despite a down year in New Orleans, Bledsoe is still a good defender who has the ability to get downhill on the offensive end – something the Clippers lacked previously. That offensive juice will be particularly useful to a second unit that sorely needed some shot creation. Most importantly, the likelihood of him actually being healthy and available throughout this brutal 2021/22 schedule will ultimately be a breathe of fresh air for the Clippers.
I can go on and on, but there’s not much more to say that hasn’t been said already in our pods. So with that, good luck to Pat, Rondo, and Daniel Oturu going forward.
Robert Flom: C+
I have very mixed feelings on the Eric Bledsoe trade. On paper, it’s totally fine (hence the C+ grade). Bledsoe was terrible last year for the Pelicans, but in a better situation and in a more normal year will probably be a better player in a vacuum than Patrick Beverley. More importantly, as everyone else has said, his ability to drive and get to the rim and create shots for others is going to be very valuable on a Kawhi Leonard-less Clippers team. He’s also a perfectly fine fit with the Clippers’ second unit, which should have enough shooting to make up for Bledsoe’s own deficiencies there.
However, trades do not occur in a vacuum. I think Pat Beverley’s leadership and intangibles will be missed – Bledsoe has quit on two teams, and doesn’t possess Beverley’s fire or energy. I also think that keeping beloved role players around for the long-term has real, hard-to-quantify value, and Beverley’s departure is a huge loss in that regard. Finally, while I’m very happy to see the back of Rajon Rondo, trading him and Daniel Oturu essentially just as matching salaries is an acknowledgement of two severely bungled moves over the past 10 months. Worse, both moves were easily predictable as failures, with Rondo being a downgrade on Lou Williams and not an answer for the Clippers’ issues (without even going into the picks), and Oturu clearly a lesser prospect than others available at 33 in the 2020 NBA Draft. I’m glad that the Clippers are cleaning up the mess, but they still made it in the first place.
That does it for this roundtable on the Eric Bledsoe trade. Let us know your thoughts on the move below!