The Los Angeles Lakers need to make acquiring Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe a top priority. The rumors from ESPN that Bledsoe and Blake Griffin could be joining the Lakers in exchange for Dwight Howard still have fuel. The Lakers seriously need to consider that Griffin and Bledsoe might be able to fix issues that Howard can’t.
The Steves, Steve Nash and Steve Blake, are both older point guards. Nash’s shooting and skill levels are unmatched but all signs point to major minute restrictions for the upcoming season.
Bledsoe is a poor team’s Chris Paul. And, the Lakers are very poor in the sense they have almost zero salary flexibility. Bledsoe is the ideal addition because of the way his contact is layout and the fact he can compensate for Nash’s age.
Nash suffered from several injuries this season, causing him to miss a significant portion of the season. Blake and Kobe Bryant picked up the slack as point guard while Nash was benched with injury or unable to mesh into Mike D’Antoni‘s system. But, for the upcoming season, the Lakers can’t have that method as the A plan.
Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told reporter Mike Trudell that he thinks Nash needs to be used differently next season:
“You don’t want to beat him up in practice. Save it for the game, figure out the appropriate minutes that put him in a successful situation. The example I use is Robert Horry, where we played him a lot of minutes, and it was difficult for him to recover and be productive at his age. But he goes to San Antonio, plays 18 minutes a game, and the guy was an unbelievable force off the bench for them. I think if we figure out how best to use Steve, he can be the same way.”
Add together Nash’s shooting and assists with Bledsoe’s overall benefits and the Lakers may have solved their age problems. Bledsoe has two years left on his current contract. His deal isn’t near as lucrative as it should be as Bledsoe played backup for John Wall in college at the University of Kentucky and then Paul on the Clippers. Bledsoe is signed for $2,626,473 for the upcoming season and $3,726,965 for the next. This is for a player who averaged 3 blocks, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals in the 20 minutes of playing time he got last season.
The Lakers salary-cap issues are only applicable to the upcoming season. The team will have very little money to move around until Pau Gasol and Bryant’s contracts expire in 2014. After that, things will more flexible and they can sign Bledsoe down for an extension.