With Chris Paul running the point in Los Angeles, backup guard Eric Bledsoe has frequently been mentioned as a potential trade candidate for the Clippers. However, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Clips are unlikely to consider dealing Bledsoe this season.
Stein reports that, despite optimism that Paul will sign a long-term deal this summer to remain with the Clippers, the club doesn't want to take anything for granted. If and when Paul is locked up, the team may become more open to the idea of dealing Bledsoe, but that obviously won't happen within the next few weeks, meaning Bledsoe probably won't be in play at this year's trade deadline.
External interest in Bledsoe remains high, according to Stein, which echoes what Sam Amick of USA Today wrote earlier today. Amick indicated that the Clips will receive plenty of offers on Bledsoe before February 21st, especially when veteran guard Chauncey Billups returns to the backcourt.
Assuming L.A. hangs on to Bledsoe through the season, the team may find itself faced with a smaller-scale version of Oklahoma City's James Harden predicament — Bledsoe will be eligible for an extension in the summer of 2013, but could also be an excellent trade asset if the Clips are reluctant to commit to a pricey, long-term deal for him.