CP3 Says Bledsoe’s Out, So Is He In?

LOS ANGELES – In praising young guard Eric Bledsoe, did Chris Paul divulge his plan to be back in a Los Angeles Clippers uniform next season and beyond?

“Bled is one of the best guards in our league,” Paul said following Sunday’s Los Angeles Clippers practice. “I’ve said it all season long, I’m enjoying playing with him right now because there’s no way he can be here next year because we probably won’t have enough money to pay him. He should be a starting point guard.”

Bledsoe, 23, is under contract through next season for a bargain $2.6 million. However, if the Clips max-out Paul, who will become a free agent this summer, the franchise could look to move Bledsoe, the third-year talent out of Kentucky taken 18th by Oklahoma City and traded to the Clippers for a first-round draft pick.

He was a catalyst off the bench in Saturday’s 112-91 Clippers victory for a 1-0 lead in the first-round, best-of-7 series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Bledsoe came alive in the fourth quarter for 13 of his 15 points (on 7-for-7 shooting) and all of his four assists and six rebounds as he played the entire period and Paul watched on the bench for all but 3:12 of the fourth.

“For him, I’m just enjoying it and I love to sit back and watch him because he’s a game-changer,” Paul said. “And like I said [Saturday] night, he’s the key to our run.”

The 6-foot-1 Bledsoe is explosive off the dribble and a rugged 190 pounds. He averaged career-bests with 8.5 points and 3.0 rebounds to go with 3.1 assists this season in just 20.4 minutes. His numbers per-36 minutes, or the floor time a starter might typically play, were 14.9 ppg, 5.4 apg and 5.2 rpg. He shot 39.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Bledsoe, as expected, said he’s not focused on his future beyond this postseason. Still, finding ample minutes for a remarkable backcourt arsenal that includes Paul, Bledsoe and veterans Chauncey Billups and sixth man Jamal Crawford is not easy.

“We got one goal and that’s to win the championship and I think we got a pretty good team to do that,” Bledsoe said. “So I’m not focused on next season. I’m pretty going to worry about winning, learning how to, really, for the first time in my career to get a championship.”

Through three quarters Saturday night, Bledsoe had logged 6:19 and had two points. His spurt of relentless activity in the fourth quarter included stint with Paul and Billups.

“Everybody on the team went through it,” Bledsoe said of sacrificing minutes on a deep team that routinely goes 10 and 11 deep. “For right now, it’s whoever is playing good at the time. So we’re just going to cheer the next man on, that’s part of a team. So I really can’t focus on minutes. If I get them I get them, if I don’t, I don’t.”

According to Paul, Bledsoe should be getting more next season when he’s wearing a different uniform.

And that could very well suggest that Paul plans to stay in a Clippers uniform.

9 Comments

  1. jack says:

    Bledsoe to LAKERS? Please, he needs a GOOD MENTOR like PAUL. He needs reinforcement for his TEAMWORK skills. Individual shining IS NOT what he needs. Stay with the CLIPS. Consolidate your skills next to a good mentor like Paul and then move to a team with unselfish players. Not to LAKERS. Please

    • Hmmm says:

      Ummm, there’s this guy, Steve Nash…..probably one of the best mentors Bled could have. Don’t get me wrong, I love CP3, hands down, the best PG in the world, right now. But I think any young player can only get better with multiple mentors. Nash could give him a different perspective. There is also these other guys: Dwight, Pau, and Kobe……where is his individual shine there? Anywho, the Clips would only giving him up because they can’t afford him. Which makes the likelihood of being signed by the Lakers even more remote, no matter how much $ the LakeShow is getting from Time Warner.

  2. David says:

    Bledsoe could be Lakers next young point guard next season.

  3. Clips says:

    get rid of dajuan and maalik!! It won’t free up enough cap space, but at least it’s a movement in the right direction to retain bled. Can’t imagine bled in another uniform :(

  4. dirk45 says:

    The Mavs are still hoping for CP3. Having Bledsoe as a replacement might be as good as they can get. Then they can focus their money on a center. No, not Kaman, a center I said.

  5. Baron says:

    I think they should keep Bled as shooting gard next season and beyond, along side of Chris, because he is such a defensive force for Clips, and they are going to look for another shooting gard next season. So why not keeping Bled and pay him what he is worth . After all you don’t know what king of shooting gard you are going to get, and still you have to pay. At 6’1″ he plays like a forward. I think he would make a good combo gard like Chancey.

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      Baron you’re CRAZY! You cannot win in this league with a 6-1 shooting guard. You barely get through with a 6-4 shooting guard.

  6. Bledsoe should go to the bobcats