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Eric Bledsoe returns to LA for second stint with Clippers

The Clippers have acquired the guard from the Grizzlies for Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu.

From NBA.com News Services

How will the Eric Bledsoe-to-the-Clippers trade affect L.A. in 2021-22?

The LA Clippers have traded Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Eric Bledsoe. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the deal, which was confirmed by the Clippers on Monday afternoon.

“We are excited to add Eric, a strong, versatile guard and an established playmaker who can attack the paint and defend multiple positions,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said Monday. “Eric started his career with the Clippers and we’re delighted to bring him back.”

Bledsoe, who is 31, was drafted by the Clippers in 2010. He spent last season with New Orleans, averaging 12.2 points and 3.4 rebounds. He last played for the Clippers in the 2012-13 season, averaging 8.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 3.1 apg before being dealt to the Phoenix Suns as a part of a three-team deal that brought Caron Butler to the Clippers.

The 2021-22 season will be the final one in Bledsoe’s current deal and he is another veteran in the mix for a Clippers team led by All-Stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard recently signed a reported four-year, $176 million deal to stay with L.A., while George signed an extension with the Clippers last season. Both moves keep those stars with the Clippers through at least the 2023-24 season (both players have player options for the 2024-25 season on their contracts).

In the offseason, the Clippers mostly held tight, re-signing Leonard and Nicolas Batum while also adding young forward Justise Winsloe in free agency. The rest of the team that reached the franchise’s first Western Conference finals in 2020-21 remains in tact as L.A. gears up for what it hopes will be its first Finals berth in team history come 2021-22.

After spending four seasons with the Suns (2013-17), he was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks early in the 2017-18 season after he was clearly disgruntled about playing for Phoenix any further. While with the Bucks, he became an All-Defensive Team selection in 2018-19 and 2019-20, but his playoff production led to the Bucks trading him to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020 as a part of the mega-trade that brought Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee.

In the offseason, the Pelicans dealt Bledsoe to the Memphis Grizzlies as a part of a pre-Draft trade that wasn’t finalized until after the Draft.

The Grizzlies were slated to pick 17th but moved up by sending center Jonas Valanciunas and 2021 draft picks (No. 17 and No. 51) to the Pelicans for Steven Adams, Bledsoe and 2021 picks (No. 10 and No. 40) along with a top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick. The No. 10 pick, Ziaire Williams, went to Memphis in the deal.

Memphis added Loyola (Maryland) 6-foot-11 center/forward Santi Aldama with the final pick of the first round at No. 30 in a draft-night trade with Utah as the Jazz made the selection. The Grizzlies sent their second-round pick (No. 40) and two future second-round picks in exchange.

Beverley and Rondo were veterans who played a key role in the Clippers’ run to the West finals while Oturu, a second-round pick in the 2020 Draft, played in just 30 games last season.

“It’s always difficult to part with people we care about, respect and admire,” Frank said in a statement. “Pat has been a pillar of our team for the past four years. He helped build our foundation with his vocal leadership and competitive spirit. Pat played a vital role in some of our most significant achievements. We are grateful for his presence and for the contributions of Rajon, a premier orchestrator, and Daniel, a promising young center. We wish them the best.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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