With Chris Paul manning the point for the Clippers, backup guard Eric Bledsoe has only played about 18 minutes per game this year, despite performing admirably off the bench. Bledsoe's production hasn't gone unnoticed by Paul though — CP3 tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com that he thinks the 23-year-old is capable of running an NBA team.
"He deserves to run his own team, he deserves to be a starter somewhere,'' Paul said. "So when the time comes, I'm going to be the biggest advocate for him to get the money he deserves.''
Bledsoe is only in the third year of his rookie contract, so he'll be extension-eligible in the summer of 2013, but won't be eligible for restricted free agency until the summer of '14. And it's unlikely that he's going anywhere anytime soon. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported last week that the Clips expect to hang on to Bledsoe at least until they're 100% sure that Paul will re-sign with the team this summer.
Broussard echoes Stein's report, noting that clubs inquiring on Bledsoe are "quickly and decisively told no." However, he says that a trade around the time of the June draft is a real possibility. Paul can't officially re-sign with the Clippers until after the moratorium period in July, so L.A. may also wait until that point to seriously consider dealing Bledsoe.
According to Broussard, the Hornets and Wizards are among the teams that have shown interest in Bledsoe. Presumably, Washington's interest came when the team was first faced with the possibility of being without John Wall for significant time. If the Clippers were to make Bledsoe available this coming summer, I'd expect plenty more clubs to inquire.