The Memphis Grizzlies will trade Jonas Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans for Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The eric bledsoe trade is a rumor that the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans are close to finalizing a deal. In this deal, the Grizzlies would send Jonas Valanciunas to the Pelicans for Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the New Orleans Pelicans are completing a deal that would send center Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th overall selection to Memphis in exchange for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, and two future first-round choices, including the 10th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
The Pelicans are adding the 2022 Lakers first-round selection — protected to 10 — in the deal, sources say, in order to generate considerable financial flexibility in free agency next week. According to reports, Memphis (51) and New Orleans (40) are also trading second-round selections in Thursday’s draft.
The trade puts the Grizzlies in the lottery at No. 10 in a deep 2021 draft, allowing them to add another key component to a youthful core that has already seen action in the playoffs. In 2022, Memphis may have three first-round choices, including protected picks from the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers.
New Orleans now has the salary cap room to match an offer sheet for restricted free agency guard Lonzo Ball, as well as chase unrestricted free agent point guards like as experienced All-Star Kyle Lowry. Josh Hart, a restricted free agent, is also being pursued by the Pelicans.
If Ball and Hart go, the Pelicans may have as much as $36 million in salary cap room. If Ball leaves, the room decreases to $25 million, but Hart stays.
The deal cannot be completed until August 6, when free agency starts, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, because of the salaries involved ($14 million for Valanciunas, $17.1 million for Adams, and $18.1 million for Bledsoe).
Bledsoe and Adams were acquired by the Pelicans in the deal that sent Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks last summer. Soon later, Adams signed a two-year, $35 million contract with the Saints.
Bledsoe, who had been named to the All-Defensive team in Milwaukee the previous two seasons, had a poor season after being expected to play a new position in the Pelicans’ offense. Since 2012-13, he has posted the second-lowest shooting % (.421) and the lowest scoring average (12.2) of his career.
Adams, a more conventional big man who doesn’t usually shoot beyond the arc, had a drop in output this season, averaging only 7.6 points per game after four seasons of double-digit scoring. He grabbed 8.9 rebounds per game while shooting a career-low 44.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Valancuinas, 29, isn’t a typical floor spacer, but he did shoot 21 of 57 from beyond the arc (36.8%) for Memphis last season.
He’s also coming off his most productive season, in which he averaged 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while shooting a career-high 59.2 percent from the field in only 28.3 minutes per night.
Last season, the Valancuinas were third in the league in rebounding and second in offensive rebounds per game (4.1), two places ahead of Adams. He was also tied for third in the league with Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook in double-doubles (49).
Bledsoe’s current deal has two years remaining on it, with $18.1 million guaranteed in 2021-22 and $19.4 million guaranteed the following season, but just $3.9 million is guaranteed, with the entire amount triggering on June 30, 2022. In 2022-23, Adams is due $17.9 million. This season, Valancuinas will be paid $14 million, followed by $14 million the next year.
The Grizzlies exchanged all of their choices in this year’s draft, but the Pelicans still have four second-round picks: No. 35, No. 43, and No. 53, in addition to the pick they traded with Memphis.
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