It’s only July 3rd, yet the L.A. Clippers are already having themselves quite the busy offseason.
About a week after finally completing a deal that brought former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers into town to replace Vinny Del Negro, and a day after unofficially coming to terms on a new deal with franchise cornerstone Chris Paul, the Clippers made news again.
In a three-way trade, the team sent young guard Eric Bledsoe and the expiring contract of forward Caron Butler to the Phoenix Suns Tuesday. In return, L.A. lands former Magic and Bucks guard JJ Redick and Suns forward Jared Dudley. The Milwaukee Bucks received a second round draft pick from both the Clippers and the Suns.
Redick was a free agent, but he was signed to a four-year deal worth $27 million with the Clips as a part of the trade. Rumors regarding Bledsoe’s availability and potential suitors had been swirling for the past several days, but the Suns were never prominently mentioned as a landing spot.
This deal figures to work out quite well for the Clippers. Redick and Dudley are two of the league’s premier three-point shooters, and, at this point, figure to slide into the starting lineup at the wing spots. Spacing the floor with shooters allowing more space for Paul and Blake Griffin to operate on the interior is ideal.
Defensively, neither is much of an on-ball stopper, but they’re both quite solid as help/team defenders. The team will likely still want to bring in another wing or two to help defend the Kevin Durants and LeBron Jameses of the world. Matt Barnes may fit the bill here.
The Suns are in the throes of a youth movement, and bringing Bledsoe in to see what he can do in a more major role is a potential steal for them, especially because all they had to give up was Dudley. Dudley is a solid role player, but he likely didn’t figure too prominently in their future plans.
The Bucks, who were not going to retain Redick in free agency anyway, figured that a pair of second-round picks is better than nothing in exchange for letting him walk.
Los Angeles has parted ways already with several wing rotation players from last season, including Butler, Bledsoe, Chauncey Billups, Grant Hill, Lamar Odom and (potentially) Willie Green and Barnes.
As they stand today with Redick and Dudley now on board, the Clippers have seven players under contract for next season, and they’ll be accounting for about $60 million total, which means the team still has money with which to work.
They’re reportedly in talks with former Warriors forward Carl Landry, who would fit in nicely with the second unit as a scoring big. His pick-and-pop game would work quite well alongside Chris Paul, quite similarly to how David West did when those two were together in New Orleans.
Barnes is reportedly interested in coming back, and the team should want to bring him back. He had a great season a year ago, and knows his role as a 3/D guy off-the-bench.
Bledsoe’s departure means the team suddenly has a hole at point guard backing up Paul, as well. Former Knicks, Rockets and Kings guard Toney Douglas may be a relatively cheap option here. He’s a willing defender and is a career 36 percent three-point shooter. He’s a useful part in a limited role.
A name that intrigues me is Andrei Kirilenko, who played for Minnesota last season. He’s a very good all-around player that gives you a little bit of everything. He can hit the occasional three, and gives you very solid defense and a bit of shot-blocking, as well. He may just cost more than the Clippers are able to give him, unfortunately.
As of today, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are the only two bigs on the roster. Even if they do bring Landry into the mix, they’ll need to still add a few more bodies up front. Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf, each of whom was with the Clippers last season, may be brought back as cheap parts.
On the surface, Los Angeles got very good value for Bledsoe here. Redick and Dudley figure to fit in perfectly as floor-spacers in the Clippers’ offense, and aren’t sieves defensively, either. Bledsoe, while a tantalizing talent and phenomenal athlete, is still relatively unproven, as well. Plus, the Clippers seemed unlikely to retain him once his rookie deal expires at the end of the 2013-14 season in light of Paul’s new deal.
While it would’ve been intriguing to see how the two would’ve fit alongside one another in the backcourt with Rivers at the helm next season, adding proven guys like Redick and Dudley would appear to be the safe, smart play.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.