Houston • With the NBA's trading deadline four days away, the Jazz remain among the most talked about teams. With talented big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both in the final years of their contracts, they have been linked to teams throughout the NBA. The latest rumor? Paul Millsap to the Clippers for point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com late Saturday there is a level of mutual interest between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in exploring a deal that would feature Bledsoe as the headliner in a trade package for Jazz forward Paul Millsap.
Although two sources with knowledge of the Clippers' thinking insisted during All-Star Weekend that Bledsoe would not be moved in coming days and strongly predicted L.A. would stand pat, two other sources indicated the Clippers and Jazz will at least discuss the feasibility of a trade headlined by Bledsoe and Millsap before the deadline.
For the Jazz? Makes sense. The team is logjammed in the frontcourt, while Bledsoe would provide a long-term solution at point guard. Mo Williams, Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson are all 30 or older and have expiring contracts. Bledsoe is 23, in his third year out of Kentucky, and in a logjam himself behind Chris Paul. He averages 9.6 points and 3.3 assists in 21 minutes per game for the Clippers.
Sources have told The Tribune that the Jazz are open to making moves but that they do not feel pressured to unload either Jefferson or Millsap before Thursday to make way for Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Bledsoe has one year and $2.6 million remaining before he becomes a restricted free agent after the 2014 season. Millsap makes $7.2 million this season. The Clippers would have to include other pieces to make the salaries match.
That extra year on Bledsoe's contract makes him more attractive to the Jazz than, say, Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings, who according to reports is on the trading block, but becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
— Bill Oram
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