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Report: The Clippers Are Trading Patrick Beverley And Rajon Rondo To Memphis For Eric Bledsoe

The Los Angeles Clippers entered this offseason without much of an opportunity to make significant changes without making a splash on the trade market, and more than two weeks into free agency it seemed they would mostly run it back with last year’s squad. Kawhi Leonard, after taking his time, re-signed on a 4-year max deal that will likely see him miss all of next season after tearing his ACL in the playoffs.

Serge Ibaka, Nic Batum, and Reggie Jackson, their three biggest potential free agents, all likewise chose to return and it seemed we would see the same Clippers team, just without Kawhi, next year. That was until Sunday evening when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke a rather stunning trade that will see L.A. bring an old friend back home as Eric Bledsoe will return to the Clippers, with Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley going to Memphis.

Bledsoe was traded to the Grizzlies from New Orleans (where he spent one season after being dealt from the Bucks in the Jrue Holiday deal) prior to the Draft, and it was long reported he wouldn’t be staying in Memphis. The question was whether the Grizzlies would buy him out or if they could find a trade partner for him, and after a month of searching, they managed to find the latter and send Bledsoe back to the franchise that drafted him (after a draft night trade) in 2010.

Bledsoe struggled last season in New Orleans, averaging 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game on just 42.1 percent shooting from the field. It’s clear that the Clippers are hoping that he will provide them with some needed point of attack defense, as they send Beverley out of town, while providing more offensive upside than he (or Rondo, who proved to be a dud of a deadline acquisition a year ago). For the Grizzlies, they get a young big in Daniel Oturu (if they want to keep him) and cut a little money for next year (Bledsoe has $3.9 million guaranteed for next season), but this seems mostly to be L.A. swapping two guaranteed contracts for one and hoping that Bledsoe has more left in the tank than he’s shown recently.

Woj offered further indication that Memphis might not keep any of the three players coming in, saying they’re “open-minded” about the futures of all three.

As for the financials on why both teams would do this, Bobby Marks provided some further details. The most notable numbers are the L.A. tax bill and the Bledsoe guaranteed money for next year.

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