In return for Bledsoe and starting small forward Caron Butler, the Clippers received Milwaukee Bucks guard J.J. Redick and Suns forward Jared Dudley. The Bucks received a second-round pick from both the Clippers and Suns.
Bye, Bye, Bledsoe
After successfully retaining superstar point guard Chris Paul for 5 years and $107 million, the push to trade Bledsoe ramped up considerably.
Prior to the draft, the initial rumors surrounding Bledsoe involved swapping him for Orlando Magic guard Aaron Afflalo. Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani was next to be mentioned as a solution to the Clippers' floor-spacing woes before the big man was swiftly dealt to the New York Knicks.
Finally bringing an end to the "trade Bledsoe" saga in Los Angeles is a welcome relief for the Clippers front office. However, in their haste they still have not acquired a frontcourt player with a diverse offensive skill set or a shooting guard known as a defensive stopper.
After selecting North Carolina swingman Reggie Bullock with the 25th pick, the Clippers should have made it a priority to obtain a power forward or center in any trade involving Bledsoe.
Redick and Dudley are both capable and savvy players, but this move does nothing to exchange the offensive or defensive dynamic of the team. Redick is a solid defender and a 39-percent 3-point shooter, as is Dudley.
However, at 6 feet 4 inches, Redick's lauded defensive scrappiness is slightly overrated. His improvement as a defender by no means puts him into an elite strata of game-changing athlete. Finding that player may have not been possible at this juncture, but it would have behooved Los Angeles to give rookie Bullock the opportunity.
Dudley's acquisition is a little more questionable. He's also a shooter. A slow-footed shooter. The switch from Butler to Dudley is a lateral move at best. Bledsoe's small contract ostensibly tied it to Butler's to allow the Clippers to absorb a larger contract such as Redick's. This undoubtedly put the Clippers in a difficult position but exhibiting a tad more patience before Bledsoe would have served them well.
Coach Doc Rivers had already expressed his affection for Bledsoe and by retaining their prized guard, Rivers could have his chance to incorporate him into his system. The Clippers could also have moved Bledsoe before the February trade deadline if they still had required frontcourt playmaking heading into postseason.
The prevailing idea is that even though Bledsoe is gone, center DeAndre Jordan could still be moved if necessary to obtain talent. Jordan's value will take a significant hit when no longer paired with Bledsoe. His contract extends too long and is nowhere near as attractive as Caron Butler's deal, which comes off of the books in 2014. Although he is six years Butler's junior and his contract is reasonably priced, Dudley is still not quite as good as Butler. A former All-Star, Butler averaged 15.6 points per 36 minutes while Dudley managed 14.3. Both players averaged relatively similar numbers in other relevant areas, shooting roughly 39 percent from distance and bringing in four rebounds per game.
The Clippers would have been better served by wrangling in center Marcin Gortat, who is on the trade market and has a decent post-game. The roughly $3 million difference between Gortat and Dudley's contract's could have easily been managed by the Clippers, who instead opted to lose the value of Butler $8 million expiring deal.
One More Move
This offseason has been eventful for Donald Sterling's team. They have solved their longstanding coaching issue, they've re-signed floor general Chris Paul, and they've got help on the wing by bringing in Redick, Bullock and Dudley.
But do they have a center or power forward that can score without being lobbed an alley-oop? That problem was the cause of many of their ills last season and it still persists.
Without the ability to dangle the ever-enticing Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler's expiring contract over the league, it will even more difficult for the Clippers to solve this sadly neglected problem.
Brandon lives in Los Angeles and watches sports more than a normal person should. He has written and podcasted for SLAMonline, and is a former Los Angeles Clippers Intern.
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Clippers
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- Caron Butler
- Jared Dudley
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