Buckle up everybody because the NBA offseason has officially arrived! Well… the offseason technically arrived several weeks ago for some teams, but it is officially draft week which means plenty of trades are about to be made league-wide!
We already saw Boston and Oklahoma City involved in a pretty big trade last month in which Al Horford and Moses Brown, along with a second-round pick, went to the Celtics in exchange for Kemba Walker, the No. 16 pick in this year’s draft and a future second-round pick.
Now, it was the Pelicans and Grizzlies turns to make a trade as they found themselves a part of a pretty intriguing deal on Monday afternoon. New Orleans agreed to trade Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, their No. 10 pick in this year’s draft, their No. 40 pick in this year’s draft and the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick in 2022 (Top-10 protected) to Memphis in exchange for big man Jonas Valanciunas, the Grizzlies No. 17 pick this year and their No. 51 pick in the second-round.
New Orleans has missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons now and by making this move for Valanciunas, they make their intentions clear of wanting to win now. With Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and now both Jonas Valanciunas and cap space, the Pelicans may not be done adding talent to their roster this offseason.
After losing in the first-round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies proved to everyone around the league that they were way ahead of schedule, but instead of “running things back” with their current roster, they are now stuck with two veterans on large contracts… at least for now.
This deal will not be finalized until August 6, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, giving the Grizzlies over a week to gauge the market for Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams. They will most likely wind up keeping Adams to fill the void left behind at the center position from Valanciunas, but Bledsoe is definitely a player who could be on the move yet again.
The Pelicans had been searching for ways to move either Bledsoe and Adams for months now and in this deal, they were able to move on from them both. This gives New Orleans the ability to have up to $36M in cap space to play around with in free agency, assuming they let go of both Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.
A lot can happen now for both the Grizzlies and Pelicans this offseason as a result of this trade, so let’s take a look at this deal from each team’s perspective and what this trade means for them moving forward.