The Grizzlies are set to trade Eric Bledsoe to the Clippers in exchange for a sizable return: Rajon Rondo, Patrick Beverley, and Daniel Oturu, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday night. It's a flexibility-focused move for the Clips as they look to a potential Kawhi-less season, and for Memphis it brings back a few solid role players who could theoretically help them get higher than the eight seed in the West.
So what does this have to do with the Sixers? Maybe nothing, but potentially a lot.
Because Wojnarowski dropped an interesting nugget in his full ESPN story about the impending trade:
"Memphis has 16 guaranteed contracts now and will be open to trades for some of the players returning in this deal, sources said. The Grizzlies are open-minded on how they all might fit into the team, but Memphis already has a packed roster."
So one of Rondo, Beverley, or Oturu could be re-routed in the future? Maybe even the near future? Very interesting... particularly since both Rondo and Beverley have ties to Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and because both players could be reasonable fits on the Sixers' current roster.
Rondo, 35, is fairly old but brings a championship pedigree and an improved jump shot - he's been shooting nearly 36% from three since 2015 despite his reputation as a miserable shooter from deep - and his salary hit matches up almost exactly with the Sixers' $8.2 million trade exception, which they created in the Al Horford-Danny Green trade: Rondo's cap hit next year is $8.25 million. The trade exception reportedly expires on Sept. 7, so if they'd like to use it to bring in Rondo, they'll have to do it soon.
How exactly could the Sixers bring Rondo back? The Grizzlies, who aren't yet in win-now mode, would probably like a young prospect with room for growth, or a draft pick. Neither is really optimal for Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, so maybe he hopes Memphis buys Rondo out - at 35, Rondo probably doesn't want to spend much time on non-competitive teams - and then goes after the vet point guard.
As far as Beverley is concerned, while he might be a solid fit in terms of his nose for defense and his pass-first mindset, he's a little pricier than Rondo ($14.32 million cap hit in 2021) and could be tough to acquire without giving up something of value. While the Damian Lillard trade option might never even arise, Morey is likely holding on to every chip available while he waits for a possible shot at the Blazers' superstar, and making a move for Beverley isn't going to trump that pursuit.
Ultimately, I'd like Rondo on this team, even if the jokes about him and Simmons - a pair of "point guards who can't shoot", and also a pair of point guards who were spotted working out together this summer - might become unbearable. If the fit didn't work he'd probably be a tradeable asset at the deadline, and if the fit did work he'd be a veteran presence looking for his third ring with a head coach he likes playing for.
It's something to think about as the Sixers round their roster into shape before the season begins.