Eric Bledsoe is returning to Los Angeles after he was traded twice in the offseason. The LA Clippers sent Patrick Beverly, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade for Bledsoe.
Bledsoe spent last season with the New Orleans Pelicans, but they traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies. With Ja Morant at the helm at point guard, the Grizzlies didn’t hold onto Bledsoe for long before they traded him to the Clippers for a pair of aging guards in Rondo and Beverly.
The old guard: Rondo and Beverly
Rondo averaged 7.6 ppg and 5.8 assists per game with the Clippers last season, but was a non-factor in the postseason. A banged-up Beverly started only 34 games last season, averaging 7.5 points and 2.1 assists.
Head coach Ty Lue benched Beverly in the opening round of the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic lit Beverly up, so Lue juggled his lineup to find a better defensive matchup. Beverly returned to the rotation in the subsequent rounds and did a solid job defending Donovan Mitchell in the second round as the Clippers finally broke their curse to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The Phoenix Suns defeated the Clippers in the conference finals after Kawhi Leonard tore his meniscus.
The Clippers decided to trade Beverly and an aging Rondo, but added Bledsoe to the mix at point guard. The Clippers believe Bledsoe still has several good seasons ahead of him, and that he’s an underrated defensive player. He’ll team up with Paul George in the backcourt while they await the return of Kawhi.
Return to Tinseltown
The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Bledsoe with the #18 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft before trading him to the LA Clippers, where he spent his first three seasons in the NBA.
Bledsoe had a promising rookie season averaging 6.7 ppg and starting 25 games. When the Clippers acquired Chris Paul in his second season, Bledsoe saw his playing time cut in half and he averaged 3.3 ppg. The Clippers eventually traded Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns.
Bledsoe thrived as a starter in Phoenix, averaging a career-high 17.7 ppg, but he played only 43 games due to a shin and meniscus injury. In the next season, he posted a career-high 20.4 ppg before he tore his meniscus after just 31 games. In 2016-17, he tallied a career-high 21.1 ppg, but missed the last month of the season due to knee soreness.
At the start of the 2017-18 season, the Suns struggled with their own internal problems and, in turn, Bledsoe wanted out of a toxic locker room. He played just three games with the Suns before they traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks. He started 210 games spanning three seasons with the Bucks, averaging 16.3 ppg and 5.3 assists per game.
After back-to-back disappointing playoff runs, the Bucks sent Bledsoe to the New Orleans Pelicans in a trade that brought Jrue Holiday to the team. Holiday would go on to win a championship with the Bucks while Bledsoe struggled with the Pelicans. He averaged 12.2 ppg, which was his lowest scoring average since his early days as a backup with the Clippers.