CM – Clippers swap Patrick Beverley, Rondo Rajon for Eric Bledsoe

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The Clippers are swapping veteran guards Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo and sophomore year Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Eric Bledsoe, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and league sources. There are no draft picks involved in the swap.

Bledsoe played his first three seasons with the Clippers and then held positions in Phoenix, Milwaukee and New Orleans. In July, the Pelicans took him in when they embarked on a three-team trade with Memphis for Center Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th.

Bledsoe, 31, is a two-time all-defensive pick averaging 14.0 points and 4.7 assists for his career.

The 6-1 guard from Birmingham, Alabama started 70 of 71 games for the Pelicans last season, averaging 12.2 points and 3.4 assists while shooting 42.1% off the field. In the previous three seasons he played 71, 78 and 68 games. The Clippers could benefit from this durability as Kawhi is expected to miss a lot of time next season as he recovers from surgery on July 13 to repair a cruciate ligament tear.

The move mitigates the Clippers’ apparent roster crunch – they had 17 players on their active roster, including a logjam on duty, with Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and the youngest draftsmen Keon Johnson, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr all on board. The deal also throws off three expiring contracts, with Beverley’s $ 14.3 million contract, Rondo’s $ 7.5 million contract, and Oturus’ last year’s guaranteed contract worth approximately $ 1.5 million . In addition, the Clippers will receive a $ 8.3 million trade exemption.

Bledsoe has two seasons left on the $ 70 million five-year deal he signed in 2014. That’s $ 18.1 million this season and $ 19.4 million the next ($ 3.9 million guaranteed). The Clippers’ tax bill will be cut from $ 125 million to $ 95 million, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Beverley, 33, was the proverbial heart and soul of the Clippers team that helped set the stage for the franchise’s current incarnation as a sustained title contender who made it to the finals for the first time last season Western Conference reached. The Fiery Guardian was the longest-serving clipper to arrive from Houston in 2017 as part of a blockbuster deal for Chris Paul. That deal also included Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and four other players, as well as a 2018 first-round pick.

His bulldog mentality has shaped the mindset of the Clippers for the past four seasons, particularly 2018-19 when he and Williams led an eight-seeded Clippers team that included defending champions Golden State Warriors in the first round the Western Conference playoffs pushed for six games.

As a clipper, Beverley averaged 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He was called up to the second team of the All-Defensive 2019-20. Beverley has often struggled with injuries, and he played in just 37 regular season games last season, having played 11 in his freshman year with team and 51 in the 2019-20 season.

Beverley often participated in the Clippers’ extrajudicial charity activities, including visiting Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to play and chat with young patients. On the pitch, his antics were controversial at times, drawing league fines for flops, verbally abusing an official and, on another occasion, for throwing a ball at a fan in Dallas. In his final moments on the pitch as a clipper, Beverley was thrown from Chris Paul for his blow in the back in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals – an action that resulted in a one-game suspension for the start of next season.

The Clippers acquired Rondo, 35, for Williams at close of trade last season in hopes that he would help bolster the backcourt in the postseason as he played frugally. Oturu, 21, is a young project. He only played 30 games last season after the Clippers traded a second-round 2023 draft pick for him in the 2020 NBA Draft, after Minnesota ranked him 33rd overall.

Damn it, I wish we had a chip in your tenure. pat bev deserves it. one of the most influential La Clipper players of all time. one of the most important guys in changing the culture. damn you. Miss you @ patbev21 pic.twitter.com/WJvbm6iQhM

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