The New Orleans Pelicans had a disappointing season and a lot of fans are blaming Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe was checked out and just bad at times this season, but his overall numbers are pretty much in line with his career, so it seems a bit unfair to pile on a guy who should have never been such a big piece of the roster.
I’m more inclined to blame the people who made him a part of the starting lineup than Bledsoe, but either way, fans are unhappy and many are calling for Bledsoe to be traded.
He has two more seasons on his contract, the second of which is only partially guaranteed, but he is owed the full $18 million for next season, so trading him might not be as simple as fans might think.
So what does the future hold for Eric Bledsoe on the New Orleans Pelicans? I see three possible scenarios.
New Orleans Pelicans: Trading Eric Bledsoe now
The Pelicans would love to use Eric Bledsoe’s contract to facilitate a trade for an upgrade at guard. There might be guys like Malcolm Brogdon available or they could even make a play for a superstar like Bradley Beal.
If they are going to make such a trade, Bledsoe’s contract will be crucial, as the Pelicans don’t have another big one to make salaries match. Of course, for some team to take on Bledsoe’s contract, they are going to have to be handsomely rewarded with assets in the form of draft picks on top of whatever the Pels are giving up for the other player.
If the Pelicans are going to use Bledsoe’s deal to make a splashy trade, it is going to cost them, which is what might lead to scenario number two.
New Orleans Pelicans: Bringing Eric Bledsoe off the bench
Depending on what happens with Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, the Pelicans are going to need guard depth.
While Bledsoe is absolutely not a starting caliber guard in the NBA, he could be a productive bench player in the right role.
If Bledsoe can somewhat reinvent himself as an off the bench 3-and-D guy, then he might have some value to the Pelicans if they aren’t able to move him.
Pelicans: Trading Eric Bledsoe at next year’s deadline
If the Pelicans were stuck with Bledsoe this offseason, they can almost certainly move him at next season’s trade deadline, when his contract won’t look so daunting and he may have increased his value as a potential bench player.
His salary would still be useful to in a trade and the Pelicans might not have to give up so much to get rid of him. Some of the benefits of the Jrue Holiday trade will vanish if the Pelicans have to give up picks just to get rid of Bledsoe and it really isn’t worth it unless they are getting a star in return.
Eric Bledsoe’s future with the New Orleans Pelicans is still murky but don’t be shocked if he is back again next season but in a different role.