Eric Bledsoe is on the move once more this offseason. The journeyman point guard, traded ahead of last season from Milwaukee to New Orleans, was traded yesterday by the Pelicans to the Grizzlies. That isn't the last move for Bledsoe, either; Chris Haynes reports there is no expectation that Bledsoe will remain in Memphis for very long.
Bledsoe has undergone the full NBA experience of being underrated, overrated, and then properly rated over the last four years. We know what kind of player he is at this point. Bledsoe is a solid defender and a good rotational piece offensively who cannot be any more than the fourth option on a playoff team. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.8 assists in 29.7 minutes per game last year while shooting 34.1 percent from three and 42.1 percent from the field.
Bledsoe is slated to make $18 million this year and $19 million next year, which is a lot of money for a guy with those kind of pedestrian stats. But someone will take a chance on him, hoping a new situation will revitalize his play. Here are four teams who could do just that.
Los Angeles Lakers
Eric Bledsoe is not exactly the name the Lakers probably have in mind heading into this offseason. They need to build a better supporting cast around LeBron and AD but do not have the resources to overhaul the roster. They may have to settle for Bledsoe, a future made more likely by the fact that Bledsoe is repped by the one and only Rich Paul and the fact that L.A. can offer one of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope/Kyle Kuzma and filler for Bledsoe's services. Bledsoe wouldn't move the needle too much for the Lakers, but he would have a clearly-defined role on a championship team and could turn into a valuable expiring deal next season.
New York Knicks
The Knicks will be hunting for point guard help in free agency this offseason. Kyle Lowry is probably their No. 1 target. But if they strike out there and other options like Mike Conley, Lonzo Ball, or Collin Sexton grow too expensive, Bledsoe could be a placeholder. New York has enough cap space that they wouldn't have to match his salary in a trade and even Bledsoe's average play would be a significant upgrade over Elfrid Payton. The Knicks aren't one piece away from becoming a championship team. Bledsoe wouldn't be a home run, but he would be a smart pickup for a team that can afford it on the cap sheet. Going for a home-run swing in free agency this year isn't the smart move. Adding Bledsoe, getting a little better, and proving to future marquee free agents that these aren't your same old Knicks is their best and quickest path to contention.
The Rockets don't really need another highly-priced point guard with John Wall currently on the roster and the expectation that they'll select guard Jalen Green in the NBA Draft this Thursday. But what they do need is salary relief. Eric Gordon and the three years remaining on his $75 million deal have been floated in more than a few rumors already this offseason. He's slated to make $18 million next season, just like Bledsoe. The Grizzlies need more scoring on the perimeter to take the load off Ja Morant. It's not a massive deal by any means, but Memphis would get help in an area of need and the Rockets trade one bad contract for another, but Bledsoe's deal has one less year on it.