The Toronto Raptors used most of their mid-level exception to bring in Otto Porter Jr. in free agency, but they stopped short of using the full MLE on him in order to remain more financially flexible. If a free agent like Eric Bledsoe presented himself, Toronto had the money needed to woo him up north.
The Portland Trail Blazers waived Bledsoe after arriving in town thanks to a midseason trade. He never played a game due to an Achilles soreness, and was since let go by a Blazers team in the middle of a major roster shakeup around Damian Lillard.
Considering that the Raptors could stand to add another backup point guard to their roster amid constant turnover on the back end of the depth chart, Bledsoe might seem like a match made in heaven. Why wouldn’t Toronto want to add a veteran to a team that is still very young?
The Raptors could theoretically bring Bledsoe in on a veteran minimum deal, but he wouldn’t be the right fit for this team right now. Bledsoe is a declining asset, and the Raptors would be better off giving those minutes to one of their young players in 2022-23 and beyond.
The Toronto Raptors shouldn’t sign Eric Bledsoe.
Despite career shooting splits of 45/34/78, Bledsoe has seen those averages shrink to 42/32/71 with the Pelicans and Clippers. If his scoring skill is declining as he enters his age 33 season, it stands to reason that things would continue to decline when he starts his hypothetical Toronto deal.
His defense has been a problem for the last few seasons, and it was compounded by the fact that LA was a provably worse team when he was on the floor. Already lacking the size and versatility Nick Nurse typically fawns over, Bledsoe isn’t exactly making the best impression.
Even though he didn’t completely tear his Achilles, an explosive guard entering this late stage of his career with some knocks at the most concerning area possible. On a team right up against the threshold of the cap ceiling, allocating resources to someone who is one bad ankle turn away from being inactive for most of the year.
Bledsoe may have made sense for this team a year ago, but they seem more than willing to let Scottie Barnes or Pascal Siakam handle the backup point guard minutes. Allocating cap space to a 33-year-old on the back nine of his career would be one heck of a way to break character for Nurse.