NBA rumors: 76ers, Mavericks linked to veteran guard Eric Bledsoe

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By , Audacy Sports

It's been a pretty eventful offseason, both directly and indirectly, for veteran guard Eric Bledsoe. The 31-year-old, previously a member of the Phoenix Suns for about four seasons and the Milwaukee Bucks for three, was able to watch those exact two teams square off in a memorable NBA Finals. And while it's likely Bledsoe would have enjoyed taking part in that, he found himself on the frustratingly "meh" New Orleans Pelicans during the 2020-21 season, starting nearly every game for the 31-41 Zion Williamson-centric squad.

And then, on Monday, he was traded. He was sent over to the Memphis Grizzlies, an up-and-coming team with a handful of really exciting pieces... and a team that he likely won't stay on for long. According to Yahoo Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes, Bledsoe could be moving elsewhere pretty soon.

Whether or not that's through a straight-up player-for-player deal, in which a team can move a player they just acquired, or via a contract buyout is to be determined. If the latter is the route the Grizzlies eventually take, you can expect there to be a few suitors for the veteran's services, and two of them are reported to be the Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks.

Both organizations are in win-now mode with a clear franchise superstar to build around and some other pieces who may not quite fit — and it's not hard to identify who those individuals are. Adding a bought-out Bledsoe seemingly wouldn't affect either team's big plans regarding Ben Simmons or Kristaps Porzingis, respectively, but it wouldn't be a small move, either.

Bledsoe has been a regular starter in the league in every season since 2013-14, and he's still proven to be a versatile and effective player in many ways. Though his numbers were down in 2020-21 (12.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.8 APG), he's a two-time All-Defensive talent that can create his own shot and help to run an offense. A capable three-point shooter but not a great one, Bledsoe is not the 20-point scorer he once was but can still have an impact.

As recently as three seasons ago, Bledsoe ranked in the top 20 in FiveThirtyEight's all-encompassing RAPTOR metric and in the top 15 in WAR, with All-Defensive first-team honors in 2018-19 and second-team honors in 2019-20. Perhaps a change of scenery from New Orleans — followed by a buyout in Memphis — could bring him back to his elite levels of production.

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