Despite reports to the contrary, a trade between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Clippers headlined by Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo and Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe is not imminent and has minimal likelihood of occurring before or during Thursday’s NBA Draft, two league sources told the Orlando Sentinel.
First, the website Sports City reported that Bledsoe and wing Caron Butler “are expected to be packaged in a draft-day trade” to the Magic.
Then, on Tuesday night, ESPN.com reported that a deal with Bledsoe and Afflalo as the centerpieces “could happen as soon as this week and potentially could be expanded to include Magic forward Andrew Nicholson and a future first-round pick as compensation for the highly coveted Bledsoe.”
ESPN.com added, however, that Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ new coach and senior vice president of basketball operations, “could push any Bledsoe trade into July — or maybe even longer” because Rivers likes what Bledsoe brings to the Clippers.
Bledsoe, who is 23 and just finished his third NBA season, would give the Magic a talented, young point guard who could be groomed to replace Jameer Nelson eventually. Bledsoe is on track to become a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season, although he would be eligible to be signed to a contract extension before Oct. 31.
Butler, 33, is due to earn $8 million during the 2013-14 season, the final year of his contract.
Afflalo, 27, would give the Clippers another capable outside shooter and a willing perimeter defender. He has three seasons remaining on his contract, which is worth about $7.5 million per season.
Nicholson, 23, was selected by the Magic with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. As a rookie, he averaged 7.8 points per game on 52.7 percent shooting.
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.