The Los Angeles Clippers have spent a decent amount of time looking for an upgrade at the point guard position in recent years. In the two NBA seasons with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the team, the point guard spot has been the one the team has looked to shake things up at the most.
Patrick Beverley has been there the most the last two seasons. Rajon Rondo was acquired in a trade at the deadline from the Atlanta Hawks to help shore up the position.
Reggie Jackson was the best option they had during the playoffs, as he stepped up to help replace the production of the injured Leonard during the postseason.
Both Beverley and Rondo were traded this offseason to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Daniel Oturu was also included in the deal, which had Eric Bledsoe land in Los Angeles. Bledsoe began his career with the Clippers, playing three seasons there.
But, the team shouldn’t be content with having him as their starting point guard. He has struggled in recent seasons, so finding another player to flip him for could make sense. One player that comes to mind is the Orlando Magic.
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: G Markelle Fultz
Orlando Magic Receive: G Eric Bledsoe
It is a straight one-for-one swap between the teams, as Eric Bledsoe will be traded for the third time, landing in Orlando. Markelle Fultz will be coming to Los Angeles.
There are a few important pieces of context that need to be taken into consideration when evaluating a potential swap that features Fultz and Bledsoe.
For starters, Fultz entered the NBA with high expectations being a No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but hasn’t been able to live up to them after his bizarre shoulder injury. Regardless, he’s still only 23-years-old and showed some flashes before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.
Fultz is entering the start of a three-year, $50 million contract extension with a Magic team that just drafted Jalen Suggs and already has Cole Anthony, too. Looking to shed that salary appears to be the best-case scenario for Orlando.
The Clippers looked to bring in Eric Bledsoe by moving on from Patrick Beverley earlier in the offseason. However, Bledsoe is set to earn $17.5 million this season, and only $3.9 million of his salary during the final year of his contract (2022-23) is guaranteed.
There is a similar final-year partial guarantee for Markelle Fultz’s contract, too. He is guaranteed just $2 million in 2023-24, which would help the Clippers to have an ‘out’ on his deal if the risk they took did not end up panning out as intended.
How does this swap impact both teams? Let’s take a look, starting with the Los Angeles Clippers.