The Orlando Magic are reportedly interested in acquiring Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, according to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford. The deal would center around the Magic’s Arron Afflalo going to the Clippers in exchange for Bledsoe and Caron Butler’s expiring deal.
Here’s an excerpt from Ford’s latest draft rumors (Insider):
Sources say the Magic have a lot of interest in Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe and would be willing to trade Afflalo for Bledsoe and Caron Butler’s expiring contract.
Would the Clippers bite? Afflalo would give them an established veteran and a big upgrade at shooting guard to pair in the backcourt with Chris Paul.
Ford says the Magic, who have the second pick in the 2013 NBA Draft in late June, aren’t necessarily convinced Michigan point guard Trey Burke is the second-best player available. The Magic are leaning towards choosing Indiana’s Victor Oladipo or Kansas’ Ben McLemore, both of whom playing shooting guard, Afflalo’s natural position.
As such, the Magic may look to trade Afflalo and continue their rebuilding process with a better long-term prospect at shooting guard. Acquiring Bledsoe makes sense for Orlando, as he’s a young and budding point guard that would fit into their foreseeable plans. Butler, of course, would likely be bought out or simply kept to teach the Magic’s younger players the NBA ropes.
On the surface, trading for Afflalo also seems sensible for the Clippers, as he’d be a massive defensive upgrade over Jamal Crawford, Chauncey Billups and Wille Green (and an offensive upgrade over the latter two), and is a respectable 3-point shooter (38.3 percent for his career). His size — 6’5, 215 lbs. — would be a welcomed addition to the Clippers’ diminutive crop of guards.
However, Afflalo significantly regressed in 2012-13, registering his lowest PER (13.0) since the 2009-10 season, and struggling to shoot well from the floor (43.9 percent) and beyond the arc (30.0 percent).
It’s somewhat understandable, given the fact that the Magic endured a rebuilding season and Afflalo had to adjust to the largest offensive role he’s ever had (22.5 usage percentage).
Still, last season’s version of Afflalo isn’t worth the price of Bledsoe and Butler’s expiring deal, two of the Clippers’ most desirable trade assets. If the Chris Paul bump does indeed exist, it’s certainly possible Afflalo can enjoy a bounce-back season as a defensive stopper, spot-up shooter and third/fourth offensive option.
At 27, he still has a few years of his prime left. He’s never been that productive of a player (has never registered over a 14.7 PER), but he’d be an interesting fit on the Clippers, and could play alongside Crawford or Matt Barnes (if he’s ultimately re-signed) as a combo wing.
Regardless of which side the deal favors, the Clippers are unlikely to move Bledsoe until a new coach has been hired and Paul has re-signed. Until then, all we can do is speculate and entertain rumors.