The Clippers announced today they have picked up the fourth year option on point guard Eric Bledsoe. As we outlined yesterday, teams have until October 31 to pick up their fourth year options on 2010 first round draftees like Bledsoe if they want to prevent them from hitting unrestricted free agency after this season. Now that the Clippers have exercized his option, unless Bledsoe receives an extension by that same date of October 31, he will hit restricted free agency in the summer of 2014.
It's no surprise that the Clippers decided to keep Bledsoe, as they were hesitant to move him this summer despite rumors of heavy interest from around the league. Due to last summer's acquisition of Chris Paul, Bledsoe's minutes and statistics were essentially cut in half in 2011-12. But he got a chance to make his mark in the playoffs, averaging 11.5 points per game in the Spurs sweep of Los Angeles.
The Clippers added Jamal Crawford this offseason who will likely also cut into Bledsoe's playing time, so it will interesting to see how he he fares in his third year out of Kentucky. He shows his potential nearly every time he gets a chance, making it almost a certainty that he will continue to draw trade interest as long as he is blocked in Los Angeles.