Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe Re-Signs With Shanghai Sharks

Longtime NBA guard Eric Bledsoe is heading back overseas, having re-signed with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to the team (link via Dario Skerletic of Sportando).

Bledsoe played for the Sharks last season after spending 12 years in the NBA and appearing in more than 800 career regular season and playoff games for the Clippers, Suns, Bucks, and Pelicans.

Known for his athleticism and perimeter defense, Bledsoe averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 756 regular season games (27.8 MPG) as an NBA player, with a shooting line of .452/.336/.784. He last played in the NBA in 2021/22, starting 29 of 54 games for the Clippers and recording 9.9 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.4 RPG in 25.2 MPG.

In Shanghai last season, Bledsoe put up 17.6 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 5.8 RPG on .435/.332/.714 shooting in 29 games (22.6 MPG).

The 33-year-old’s season came to an unusual end when the Sharks were disqualified from the CBA postseason amid match-fixing allegations. Bledsoe, who was serving a suspension during the games in question, distanced himself from the allegations and apparently feels comfortable rejoining the team for the 2023/24 season.

And-Ones: Koufos, Mental Health, Analytics Awards, Match Fixing

The London Lions have parted ways with veteran center Kosta Koufos, the team announced in a press release (hat tip to

“We would like to thank Kosta for his contributions to the Club, both on and off the court,” Lions GM Brett Burman said. “Aside from being a dominant interior presence, Kosta was a mentor and locker room connector. He came in and represented the Club and the BBL, and the City of London to the highest standard. He left a huge impression on the basketball footprint here, and we thank him for his impact… We wish him and his family all the best.”

The 23rd overall pick of the 2008 draft, Koufos played 11 NBA seasons with Utah, Minnesota, Denver, Memphis and Sacramento. His last season in the league was 2018/19 with the Kings.

The 34-year-old had a solid showing with the Lions, leading the British Basketball League in rebounds per game (9.1) during the regular season while chipping in 12.1 points and 1.1 blocks (sixth-best in the BBL). Koufos has also played for CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and G League Ignite in recent years after his NBA departure.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic examines why the NBA got serious about mental health, noting that DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love were at the forefront of discussing their mental health struggles in 2018. According to Vardon, since 2019/20 the league has required teams to have a “formal relationship” with an in-market therapist or psychologist, a psychiatrist for medication, action plans for emergencies, and a “playbook” featuring health and wellness exercises. “People think (NBA players) can just pump fame, or pump money, or pump Twitter followers into their lives and it’s going to just fix everything,” Love told Vardon. “But unfortunately, brains and souls just don’t work like that. If you have a chemical imbalance, that’s not going to help it.”
  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic polled 17 members of the advanced analytics community — some who work for teams and some who don’t — to see who they would choose for the NBA’s annual regular season awards. Those polled tended to favor peak performance rather than durability, with stars like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis making the informal All-NBA teams despite only playing between 47 and 58 regular season games.
  • The Chinese Basketball Association disqualified the Shanghai Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons from the postseason amid match-fixing allegations, according to The Dragons were up four points with 1:36 remaining in the finale of their three-game series, but subsequently committed five straight questionable turnovers to help the Sharks build a 10-point lead, with Shanghai ultimately winning 108-104. The teams were fined $5MM apiece and their GMs and head coaches will be suspended for up to five years. The Sharks also allegedly lost Game 2 on purpose so former All-Defensive guard Eric Bledsoe could return for Game 3 — he had been suspended prior to the playoffs. Both Bledsoe and Michael Beasley — another former NBA player who was injured for most of the season and didn’t play in the games — denied being part of the match-fixing. Beasley said he mutually and amicably agreed to leave the team in part because it “failed to provide me with the necessary assistance and accommodations to properly address my injury,” per ESPN.

And-Ones: Media Rights, G League, Bledsoe, Beasley, Franklin

When the NBA negotiates its next television deal, expect the league to sell a separate package of streaming-only games, writes Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports. As McCarthy outlines, the NFL and MLB have sold packages of games to Amazon and Apple in recent years, and the NBA is expected to follow suit, with Amazon in particular having made it clear it wants to get into business with the league.

“Amazon is locked and loaded for a shot at the NBA,” a source told Front Office Sports.

According to McCarthy, sports media consultant Patrick Crakes estimated that the bidding for a streaming-only NBA package could start in the neighborhood of $1 billion per year. The league’s current TV deal with ESPN/ABC and Turner Sports pays the league about $2.6 billion annually — the next rights deal is expected to double or triple that figure, McCarthy writes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Eric Bledsoe To Resume Career In China?

OCTOBER 27: Bledsoe was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence on Wednesday night in Lost Hills, California, shortly after word broke of his deal with the Shanghai Sharks, according to a TMZ report. It’s unclear whether the Chinese club still intends to move forward with Bledsoe’s deal following his arrest.

OCTOBER 26: Veteran guard Eric Bledsoe will sign with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. This will be Bledsoe’s first time playing overseas after 12 years in the NBA.

The 32-year-old began last season as a starter with the Clippers and averaged 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 54 games. He was traded to the Trail Blazers in February, but soreness in his left Achilles tendon prevented him from ever playing for Portland. The Blazers waived him in July and stretched the $3.9MM in guaranteed money left on his contract.

After one season at Kentucky, Bledsoe was selected with the 18th pick in the 2010 draft. He appeared in 756 total games with the Clippers, Suns, Bucks and Pelicans.

Bledsoe’s teammates in Shanghai will include former NBA players Michael Beasley and Jamaal Franklin.

Western Notes: Warriors, Blazers, Bledsoe, Kings, Dulkys

Speaking to Mark Medina of on Wednesday, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers suggested he doesn’t expect to make any significant changes to the current roster before the 2022/23 season begins.

“I like our team and where it’s at,” Myers said of the defending champions. “I want to give the guys a chance to do it again.”

While Medina interprets Myers’ comments as a strong signal that the Warriors won’t seriously pursue a Kevin Durant trade, such a move was already considered a long shot. Golden State hasn’t shown much interest in sacrificing its depth or young prospects in order to make a run at another marquee player, Medina notes.

For his part, Myers is curious to see what the Warriors look like defending their title after coming off a couple non-playoff seasons in 2020 and 2021.

“It’s a good group. We’re lucky. It’ll be fun to see,” he told Medina. “We were really hunting last year. Now I guess we’re back to being the hunted, which I didn’t think we’d be. We’ll see. I think we can handle it.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report attempts to make sense of recent reports about Phil Knight‘s interest in buying the Trail Blazers and Jody Allen‘s statement insisting the franchise isn’t currently for sale. Observing that Knight is an ideal buyer from the NBA’s perspective, Highkin suggests more reports like the New York Post’s dubiously sourced hit piece on Allen could surface in the coming weeks and months in an effort to pressure her to sell.
  • It slipped through the cracks when Casey Holdahl of (Twitter link) first reported it earlier this month, but the Trail Blazers have stretched Eric Bledsoe‘s $3.9MM in dead money across three seasons rather than applying the full amount to their 2022/23 cap. The decision, which results in annual $1.3MM cap hits through ’24/25, moves Portland’s team salary for this season slightly under the luxury tax line.
  • Deividas Dulkys, who served as a player development coach for Memphis’ G League team in 2021/22, will take a player development role with the Kings, reports Donatas Urbonas of The former Florida State wing, who played professionally from 2012-21, was a member of the Lithuanian national team during 2012 Olympic qualifiers.

Trail Blazers Waive Eric Bledsoe

5:20pm: The Trail Blazers have officially placed Bledsoe on waivers, per a press release. He’s on track to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.

9:41am: The Trail Blazers intend to waive Eric Bledsoe in the coming days, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says several teams are expected to register interest in Bledsoe as a free agent.

Bledsoe had been under contract for $19.38MM in 2022/23, but only $3.9MM of that money is fully guaranteed. If the point guard were to remain under contract through July 10, his full salary would become guaranteed, so Portland will officially waive him before that happens.

Bledsoe, 32, began the 2021/22 season with the Clippers, appearing in 54 games (29 starts) for L.A. and averaging 9.9 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.4 RPG in 25.5 minutes per contest. However, he was sent to Portland in the Norman Powell/Robert Covington trade prior to the trade deadline.

Bledsoe never actually appeared in a single game for the Blazers. The team announced in March that he was being shut down for the season after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to address the tendinopathy in his left Achilles tendon.

The Blazers were in tank mode after the trade deadline and were shutting down just about veteran on their roster who had a minor ailment, so there’s no reason to think that Bledsoe’s Achilles issue is significant enough to hinder his ability to catch on with a new team once he reaches free agency.

Portland will have the option of applying Bledsoe’s $3.9MM in dead money solely to the 2022/23 cap or stretching it into increments of $1.3MM across three seasons. Stretching that cap hit could be something the Blazers consider, given their proximity to the luxury tax line.

Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link) estimates that Portland’s team salary is approximately $3.7MM above the tax threshold, but we’ll need to wait for the official details to come in on contracts for Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, and Gary Payton II to know for sure.

Blazers Rumors: Beal, LaVine, Bridges, Grant, Collins

The Trail Blazers are exploring the trade market in search of veterans who can help Damian Lillard get the team back into the playoffs, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who observes that Portland has a handful of assets in hand to offer up in possible deals.

Besides the No. 7 overall pick in this year’s draft, the Blazers also have a trade exception worth nearly $21MM, Josh Hart and his team-friendly contract, Eric Bledsoe‘s expiring deal (Bledsoe’s partial guarantee could be increased as needed for salary-matching purposes), future draft picks, and possibly Jusuf Nurkic as a sign-and-trade candidate.

Here’s more from O’Connor on the players Portland could go after this summer:

  • Sources tell The Ringer that free-agents-to-be Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine are potential Blazers targets, though it’s unclear if they’ll be willing to leave the Wizards and Bulls, respectively, for Portland. Lillard and Beal are friends who played together for Team USA, O’Connor notes.
  • Hornets restricted free agent forward Miles Bridges is a player worth keeping an eye on for the Blazers, sources tell O’Connor. The team is in the market for a big wing who can help on defense and be a secondary offensive play-maker, and Bridges fits the bill. Again though, it remains to be seen if Portland will be able to pry away Bridges from his current team, especially since Charlotte will be able to match any offer sheet.
  • Pistons forward Jerami Grant is another two-way wing frequently mentioned as a target for Portland, as O’Connor observes. In his latest Substack article, Marc Stein writes that the Hawks continue to register interest in Grant, but the Blazers would likely be able to outbid Atlanta and other Grant suitors if they’re willing to include the No. 7 pick in their offer.
  • Hawks big man John Collins is also frequently cited as a player on the Blazers’ radar, according to O’Connor, who suggests Collins would be more of a lob threat – and more versatile defensively – than Nurkic.

Blazers Rule Out Nurkic, Simons, Bledsoe For Season

The Trail Blazers confirmed today in a press release that center Jusuf Nurkic and guards Anfernee Simons and Eric Bledsoe won’t return for the team this season.

According to today’s announcement, Nurkic (left foot plantar fasciitis) and Simons (patellar tendinopathy in his left knee) have responded well to treatment and rehabilitation, with Nurkic’s rehab program reducing his symptoms and increasing the “overall function” of his left foot and ankle.

Nurkic will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Simons will be a restricted free agent. However, both players – especially Simons – are considered good bets to re-sign with Portland.

Bledsoe, who hasn’t played in a game for the Blazers since being acquired from the Clippers prior to February’s trade deadline, received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection last Wednesday to address the tendinopathy in his left Achilles tendon, per the team. Bledsoe technically has one more year left on his contract, but only $3.9MM of his $19.4MM salary for 2022/23 is guaranteed, so he appears likely to be waived in the offseason.

The Blazers issued injury updates on two more players, announcing that swingman Josh Hart, who has missed the club’s last four games due to patellar tendinopathy in his left knee, will be reevaluated in a week. There will only be one week left in the season at that point, so it won’t be a major surprise if Hart doesn’t play again in 2021/22.

Meanwhile, Didi Louzada – acquired from New Orleans last month in the CJ McCollum trade – is in the final stages of his return-to-play protocol after undergoing surgery on a torn mensicus on February 4. The Blazers expect him to play before the end of the season.

Damian Lillard (abdominal surgery), Nassir Little (shoulder surgery), and Joe Ingles (ACL surgery) have previously been ruled out for the season by the Blazers, while Trendon Watford (hyperextended left knee and bone bruise) is also questionable to return within the next two weeks.

Blazers Notes: Lillard, McCollum, Bledsoe, Free Agents, Luxury Tax, Cronin

Damian Lillard is unlikely to play again this season as he recovers from abdominal surgery, Sean Highkin of the Bleacher Report tweets.

As Highkin relays, Trail Blazers interim general manager Joe Cronin indicated there’s little reason for Lillard to suit up for the retooling club, even though his recovery is going well. If that’s the case, Lillard’s season ended on New Year’s Eve. He appeared in 29 games this season, averaging 24.0 PPG and 7.3 APG.

Lillard has been consulted on the team’s trades over the past week and the blueprint for the future.

“Damian has been great. He communicates with (head coach) Chauncey (Billups) and I constantly,” Cronin said, per Highkin (Twitter link). “He’s fully caught up with what our plans are and were and is very integral to what our plans are.”

Several other interesting tidbits came out of Portland’s press conference. Here are some of the other highlights:

  • Discussing the trade that sent CJ McCollum to the Pelicans, Cronin said, “It was really important to us that CJ separated from us on good terms, and I think we did that” (Twitter link).
  • Eric Bledsoe, who was acquired from the Clippers in the deal that sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to L.A., won’t be bought out, according to Cronin. Bledsoe’s $19.4MM contract for next season is only partially guaranteed for $3.9MM, so Portland can decide on his future in the offseason. (Twitter link).
  • Despite blowing up the roster, Cronin believes the team can attract free agents. “I’m confident that we can be competitive with free agents. With Chauncey Billups, Damian Lillard and myself, we can get into meetings and we’re not afraid to go after players.” (Twitter link).
  • The front office felt the team could no longer compete for a title with the previous roster, according to Casey Holdahl of “It had become evident to us that the roster had plateaued,” Cronin said. “It was a team that was built to fit a specific coaching style and a style of play that we didn’t feel was conducive to the way Chauncey and myself wanted to play. With that, we were capped out, we were looking at a team that would have been in the luxury tax by $15 million next season with not many ways to improve.”
  • Luxury tax concerns were a major focus in each of Portland’s trades, particularly the blockbuster with the Clippers. “The deal was important for us because it got us out of the luxury tax this year, which completely reset our repeater clock, meaning we don’t go back in, even if we’re in the tax in future seasons, until at least 2025,” Cronin said. “And the trade also gave us a bunch of leverage in the next deals that we needed to make where teams would no longer hold getting us out of the luxury tax as a part of the negotiation. So that was a good deal for us.”
  • President of business operations Dewayne Hankins said Cronin is a serious candidate for the permanent GM position, Highkin tweets. “Ownership is still in the process of an equitable search. Joe is obviously a candidate for it, and he has the keys to do what he needs to do.”

Blazers Notes: Johnson, Allen, Covington, Powell, Bledsoe

Rookie shooting guard Keon Johnson said on Monday that he’ll be out at least a couple more weeks due to an ankle injury, Casey Holdahl tweets.

Johnson was acquired by the Trail Blazers in the deal with the Clippers than sent Robert Covington and Norman Powell to L.A. The 21st pick of last year’s draft, Johnson has appeared in 15 games this season. He hasn’t seen action in an NBA game since January 9.

We have more on the Trail Blazers:

  • The incentive for the Blazers to make the deal with the Clippers was to cut payroll and get under the luxury tax, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes, but there might have been ulterior motive. It could be the first step toward Jody Allen selling the team, Quick speculates. Quick notes that the ground lease for the Moda Center runs through October 2025 and Blazers must notify the city by September 2024 of their intentions to extend or renegotiate the lease. However, there haven’t been any ongoing negotiations.
  • The fact that the Blazers didn’t get a first-round pick for Powell and Covington shows that offers they received weren’t as strong as anticipated, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. He speculates that the back end of Powell’s five-year contract – he’ll take in $20.5MM in 2025/26 – likely scared some suitors. Additionally, many teams likely wanted to get a pick attached to Covington from Portland, which was eager to get out of the luxury tux.
  • Eric Bledsoe is unsure if he’ll remain with Portland after the trade deadline, Sean Highkin of the Bleacher Report tweets. He was also part of the deal with the Clippers, added for salary purposes. “It’s up in the air. I’m being professional,” Bledsoe said. “Come in and do my job like I always have, see where it goes.”
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks are reportedly interested in acquiring CJ McCollum.