The Portland Trail Blazers are making moves this offseason. After trading away star guard CJ McCollum last season, Portland knew they needed to do something to keep the faith of superstar guard Damian Lillard.
They haven’t made that splash signing quite yet, but they have added former Golden State Warriors standout guard Gary Payton II. Trading for the Detroit Pistons’ Jerami Grant was also a notable move made by Portland.
More recently, the Blazers have waived former Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe.
The Portland Trail Blazers plan to waive guard Eric Bledsoe ahead of his guarantee date approaching, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Entering his 13th NBA season, several teams are expected to pursue Bledsoe as a free agent.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 6, 2022
Also once a Wildcat, Bledsoe was drafted with the 16th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. For Bledsoe, per the above, he’s expected to have many suitors, and his elite defense is a big reason why he’ll be a sought-after free agent.
Bledsoe didn’t actually play for Portland.
Having been traded eight times throughout his career, Bledsoe found himself back in Los Angeles last season just for them to trade him to Portland, a team clearly tanking with Lillard out of commission for the season at that point.
He still has value, though.
Bledsoe averaged 9.9 points per game last season and had hit double figures in eight seasons coming into that one.
While he does shoot 34% from deep for his career, it’s more so his defense that should have teams in a bidding war for his services. Bledsoe might not have made an All-Star team, but he is a two-time All-Defensive team member.
Likely to sign with a team capable of contending, Bledsoe is going to make a terrific backup point guard. The Lakers or Heat both seem like solid options for Bledsoe who is going to be entering his 13th season in the league.
Bledsoe has played in over 70 games in 3 of his last 5 seasons, so availability won't be an issue either.