The Los Angeles Clippers have been a never-ending stream of trade rumors this NBA offseason, with a deal to get Doc Rivers from Boston completed and now another one in the works to ship backup point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Orlando Magic.
Bledsoe had been part of the Clippers trade rumors before, with his name being floated as part of a possible mega-trade sending Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Doc Rivers to Los Angeles. But the Clippers balked at including Bledsoe, who was deemed too valuable a piece to be a throw-in part of that trade, and the NBA then shut down the part of the trade not involving Rivers.
Now rumors say the Clippers are working with the Orlando Magic to send Bledsoe in exchange for shooting guard Arron Afflalo and power forward Andrew Nicholson as well as a future first-round pick.
The teams are reportedly hashing out the details of the trade, but it’s likely if a deal is reached it would not look the same as the rumors say. The Magic had the NBA’s worst record last year, and would not be likely to give up a first-round pick as well as Nicholson, who showed promise in his rookie season, just to get Bledsoe.
The Clippers were free to part with Bledsoe thanks mostly to the Doc Rivers deal. Rumors floated in the offseason that Chris Paul was upset with management, believing he was unfairly taking blame for coach Vinny Del Negro being fired, but the addition of Rivers now has Paul likely to sign a long-term extension.
That leaves Bledsoe, the backup to Paul and the team’s insurance policy if he did not re-sign, free to serve as trade bait.
Whether the Clippers trade rumor with the Orlando Magic materializes or not, it is clear that Los Angeles is looking for a re-tooling to become a Western Conference contender. Other rumors say Blake Griffin is on the trading block, indicating that no player (outside of Chris Paul) is safe.