When the LA Clippers made the move to acquire Eric Bledsoe in August, there was real hope that the veteran floor general could help the team stay afloat while Kawhi Leonard recovered from ACL surgery. So far, though, Bledsoe’s run with the team has failed to yield the results fans were hoping for.
Heading into the team’s December 1 bout with the Sacramento Kings, Bledsoe is averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 assists per game, both of which represent his lowest marks since his first Clippers experience ended in 2013.
He’s also making just 26.9% of his triples. Bledsoe has never been a three-point ace, mind you, but that conversion rate is particularly poor for a starting backcourt player in the modern NBA.
In an effort to solve the Clippers’ point problem, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale is pitching a wild trade that would bring five-time All-Star John Wall to the team, courtesy of the Houston Rockets.
B/R’s Bledsoe-Wall Swap Deconstructed
As built by Favale, the big Wall trade between the Rockets and Clippers would happen as follows:
- Rockets Receive: Eric Bledsoe, Serge Ibaka & Luke Kennard
- Clippers Get: John Wall
One could look at that deal and determine that Los Angeles is giving up a whole lot for a former star on the wrong side of 30 who has only appeared in 40 games over the last two and a half years. Kennard is, after all, one of the game’s elite three-point shooters and a key cog for Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Ibaka may be rounding back into form after some initial post-injury struggles. He just scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed six boards in 26 minutes against the Pelicans.
However, their contracts are the kind that would be needed to match financials on a deal including Wall’s massive, $44 million salary for 2021-22.
That said, if Wall can be at least as good as he was last season in Houston, it could be worth the gamble for the Clippers. After missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season — and half of the preceding year — with multiple injuries, Wall returned to put up 20.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game last season.
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According to Favale, Kennard could be the sticking point for the Clippers in this hypothetical trade. However, he also noted the following:
After opening the year on relative fire, [Kennard] has dipped below 34 percent shooting from deep over the past 12 games and is hitting barely 40 percent of his twos for the season. His defensive energy has been admirable, at times, but the $43.2 million he’s guaranteed through 2023-24 (team option in 2024-25) registers as a net negative when he’s not spitting fire.
There’s also the matter of the Clippers likely wanting sweeteners to stomach the absorption of Wall’s ridiculous deal:
The more salient question is whether the Rockets would be willing to send out small-potato buffers—like Milwaukee’s 2023 first or its 2023 and 2024 seconds—to make the deal more palatable for L.A.
Additionally, there’s a chance the Clippers could just be getting a pricier version of Bledsoe with this deal. It’s difficult to know what can be reasonably expected from Wall at this juncture and, even in his heyday, he wasn’t exactly known for his efficiency.
On the other hand, Wall looks motivated to get back on the court and prove that he can still show out.