I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I'd be remiss if I didn't write a post about my favorite player being traded, I mean the blog is named after the guy after all. So yeah, a couple weeks ago the Clippers dealt backup point guard Eric Bledsoe and small forward Caron Butler to the Phoenix Suns for Jared Dudley, and completing a sign and trade with Milwaukee for JJ Redick in exchange for two second round picks.
If your first reaction to this trade was something along the lines of "holy hell the Clippers just got way, way better" than you obviously know at least something about the NBA. Yes, the Clippers just got extremely better and they gave away next to nothing to get it. Sure, Eric Bledsoe is a pretty damn good player, and is definitely starting caliber in the league, but his rookie deal is up after this season and the Clippers would have had to pay him a considerable chunk of money. Obviously that was never going to be the case, but it was interesting to see what they were going to get for Bledsoe who was pretty highly coveted by a lot of teams. Ultimately, they struck a three team deal with Milwaukee and Phoenix, and it appears that they may have struck championship oil.
Last season the Clippers were one of the premiere teams in the league. They had pretty good depth, some decent size, and the best point guard in the league running their offense. Unfortunately, they were extremely poorly coached, and while they had a decent bench with lots of capable players, Jamal Crawford was the only real scoring threat off the bench. These are things that separate good teams, from championship caliber teams. The addition of Redick and Dudley have vaulted the Clippers into the realm of championship caliber teams, and should get a great deal of consideration to finish 1st in the Western Conference this next season.
Redick and Dudley are obviously by no means elite players, but they're very, very good players. Redick and Dudley are both players who do every thing you want out of a role player. Both of these guys play good defense, hustle on both ends of the floor, are above average shooters, can handle the ball decently well, are great at moving the ball and making the extra pass, and are capable of scoring 20 points on a given night. These are the exact kinds of players that you want when you're trying to move your team from very good, to elite.
Redick will more than likely end up starting at the shooting guard position, and Dudley will more than likely start at the small forward. There's a chance that Jamal Crawford may start in place of Redick, but I fully expect Doc Rivers to use Crawford off the bench as he's an instant offense guy when you're resting your starters. As I mentioned Redick and Dudley can both shoot the ball from the perimeter at an extremely efficient rate, which will benefit the other Clippers starters greatly. Chris Paul will be able to create for himself, or his teammates and will be able to have a high amount of confidence in his wing players to knock down shots. This will be huge for the Clippers as defenders will have to decide whether they're going to help off on Paul leaving a 40% career shooter from the arc open, or stick to their man and leave Chris Paul's defender in a one on one matchup, neither of these seem ideal for the defense to me.
Alright, so it's no secret that the Phoenix Suns are currently one of the worst teams in the league. They don't have a whole lot of assets, they're still paying Michael Beasley $12.25M over the next two seasons, and they don't any big time play makers or scorers. While I don't know exactly what Bledsoe will bring to the table, it seems to be the consensus among several GMs that Bledsoe has the potential to be a serious playmaker.
While Bledsoe may very well be a long term option in Phoenix I have to doubt that's the case. Phoenix inked Goran Dragic to a long term deal last year, and he is a very capable point guard when he has talent around him. Bledsoe will definitely contribute for Phoenix, I have zero doubt about that, but what Bledsoe really brings to the table is a very, very valuable asset that many teams will most likely be vying for at the deadline. First of all, his contract expires at the end of this season, which means even if Phoenix doesn't trade him they will have cleared out a good deal of cap space. However, should they trade him, there will be some teams who are in contention looking to add one more piece that they can get on a rental, and that of course is always a valuable asset to have.
While I fully expect the Suns to move Bledsoe for some picks and some cheap contracts, I wouldn't at all be surprised if they keep him the full year and then let his deal expire. Bledsoe is not going to turn this franchise around, that is cut and dry, so that means that the Suns will still be very, very bad next season putting them in contention for a top pick in a very talented 2014 draft class.
Butler is also a very valuable asset in that he too is an expiring contract and he's a solid veteran who has a good enough offensive and defensive game for any teams looking to acquire a piece like this at the deadline. Again, Phoenix could either choose to trade him for some future assets, or let his contract expire and save themselves the cap space, either route looks like it will have a favorable conclusion for Phoenix.
When it comes down to it, Phoenix managed to put themselves in a great position to rebuild with this trade. They shed a long term deal with Dudley, and brought in to pretty valuable assets. Overall, this should help the Suns in their quest to move back towards the top of the Western Conference.
So, Hammond makes a deal at last years deadline, sending Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb, and Tobias Harris to Orlando for JJ Redick, Ish Smith, and Gustavo Ayon. The way everyone, myself included, saw this deal was that Redick was the prize, a guy who could help out Milwaukee off the bench and who could be the answer at shooting guard should they not resign Monta Ellis. Instead, Tobias Harris went to Orlando and looked like a star, and Milwaukee barely even gave Redick minutes which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Ultimately, Milwaukee traded what looks to be a great young player in Tobias Harris, and a decent young player in Doron Lamb for TWO 2ND ROUND DRAFT PICKS. How John Hammond still has a job here is beyond me, but I shouldn't be that surprised, considering he's employed by the Milwaukee Bucks.
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