Just up this morning, Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein published this piece for ESPNLA reporting that the LA Clippers and Utah Jazz are interested in making a trade that would feature Clipper third-year guard Eric Bledsoe for the Jazz power forward Paul Millsap.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com 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.
At first the trade seems to make sense, especially in light of the problematic Kevin Garnett trade (if such a thing should be taken seriously at all). Millsap is a solid front court player and a good bench scorer averaging over 15 points a game and 7 rebounds in only thirty minutes this year with a PER of 20.6.
But there's trouble with this deal as well: the Clips would have to give up another piece in order to match salary (Millsap makes 8.6 million this year). In a straight swap that player would have to be either Lamar Odom or Caron Butler. But Odom has given the Clippers terrific defense and rebounding off the bench and Millsap's not nearly as long or as good a passer as Odom (though his inside game is world's better). Trading Butler is equally problematic, one thing Millsap doesn't provide is three-point shooting. He's attempted only twelve this year. Say what you want about Butler, but other than the recently returned Chauncey Billups, he's probably the Clips most reliable 3-point shooter.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Paul Millsap's a free agent this summer. Can the Clips afford to re-sign him... and hold onto players like Odom, Barnes, Grant Hill? Yeah, they'd have his Bird Rights, but would they be able and willing to pay him $10 million plus to stick around?