Former Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, shown Dec. 25, 2019, spent the past four seasons in Los Angeles. He averaged 7.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Clippers traded veteran guards Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo and second-year center Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Eric Bledsoe, the teams announced Monday.
The trade saves the Clippers $30 million in luxury tax, and it creates an $8.3 million traded-player exception that Los Angeles will have a year to use.
The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Bledsoe in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, but he was subsequently traded to the Clippers. He spent his first three seasons in Los Angeles before joining the Phoenix Suns for the 2013-14 campaign.
Bledsoe spent parts of five seasons with the Suns before being dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2017-18 season. He played three years in Milwaukee, then was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in November 2020.
The 31-year-old Bledsoe averaged 12.2 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 71 games for the Pelicans this past season.
Bledsoe, a two-time member of the NBA's All-Defensive Team, is expected to play a major role in the Clippers' guard rotation this coming season.
"We are excited to add Eric, a strong, versatile guard and an established playmaker who can attack the paint and defend multiple positions," Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. "Eric started his career with the Clippers and we're delighted to bring him back."
The Pelicans traded Bledsoe to the Grizzlies before July's draft to free up salary-cap space. Memphis had been working to move Bledsoe since acquiring him.
Beverley was a fan favorite with the Clippers due to his defensive prowess and hustle. The veteran guard, however, was limited to just 37 games last season because of injuries.
The 33-year-old Beverley averaged 7.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season for the Clippers. He lost his starting job to guard Reggie Jackson during the Western Conference playoffs.
"It's always difficult to part with people we care about, respect and admire," Frank said. "Pat has been a pillar of our team for the past four years. He helped build our foundation with his vocal leadership and competitive spirit. Pat played a vital role in some of our most significant achievements."
Rondo was acquired from the Atlanta Hawks at the trade deadline last season for Lou Williams and two second-round draft picks. The 35-year-old Rondo averaged 7.6 points and 5.8 assists over 18 games in Los Angeles.
Oturu was the Clippers' No. 33 overall pick in the 2020 draft. The 21-year-old big man averaged 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 30 games for the Clippers in the 2020-21 season.