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Clippers, Jazz Discuss Trade Involving Bledsoe

Could it be?

Jeff Gross

It is no secret that the Jazz need a point guard right now. The Jazz's point guard depth is practically a living billboard for AMC's "The Walking Dead". So along comes this news reported by Marc Stein of

The Los Angeles Clippers' options for dealing Eric Bledsoe should they reverse course and decide to part with their prized young point guard appear to be increasing before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told late Saturday there is a level of mutual interest between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in exploring a deal that would feature Bledsoe as the headliner in a trade package for Jazz forward Paul Millsap.

Although two sources with knowledge of the Clippers' thinking insisted during All-Star Weekend that Bledsoe would not be moved in coming days and strongly predicted L.A. would stand pat, two other sources indicated the Clippers and Jazz will at least discuss the feasibility of a trade headlined by Bledsoe and Millsap before the deadline.


The appeal of Millsap ... is he'd conceivably help the Clippers in the frontcourt immediately, as well as in the future because of his age (28). Utah's interest in finding a good young point guard, meanwhile, is an open secret around the league that has led to longstanding speculation that either Millsap or Al Jefferson would be moved by the deadline, given that both are scheduled to become free agents such as Paul in July.

Bledsoe, 23, certainly would appear to fit well with the Jazz as they retool around a younger core of Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward. Utah also has an immediate need at point guard as it awaits the return of Mo Williams from a thumb injury after Williams -- acquired from the Clippers over the summer -- completes the final year of his contract.

But the Clippers would have to add at least one player to a Millsap deal to make the salary-cap math work if talks progressed to a serious level. And sources say L.A.'s front office remains wary of breaking up or shaking up its current roster, which generated a franchise-record 17 consecutive wins in January and is finally back to full strength with the recent returns of Paul, Griffin, Billups, Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill from injury.


Eric Bledsoe is the prize point guard on the market right now. He has great athleticism and seems to be budding into his own right now. If the Jazz were to get him they would have to give up at least a draft pick with Millsap. If Dennis Lindsey, General Manager of the Utah Jazz, is able to attain Bledsoe without giving up a draft pick then the Utah Jazz are trade deadline sharks. But it would seem this is still in the preliminary stages and that the Clippers have broken Kevin O'Connor's first rule:


On the Clippers' side they're only doing this is they feel like they have a chance to win a title this year. Which it might be their window to win one. Chris Paul is an unrestricted free agent this year and this could be the Los Angeles Clippers one and only shot to put it all together. If the Clippers are willing to gain a rental in Paul Millsap and pay for it with one Eric Bledsoe then Dennis Lindsey is amazing.

This deal could already be dead if we're hearing about it now. But in the words of Lloyd Christmas, "SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE!"