Kenrich Williams, Josh Gray, and Zylan Cheatham will be dealt from the Pelicans to the Thunder as part of the massive multi-team trade that will send Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee and Steven Adams to New Orleans, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).
[RELATED: Thunder trading Steven Adams to Pelicans]
The Pelicans needed to send out a little more salary in order to accommodate the incoming contracts of Adams ($27.5MM) and Eric Bledsoe ($16.9MM). Because Williams, Gray, and Cheatham were free agents, they’ll have to be signed-and-traded to be included in the deal.
Sign-and-trade contracts must run for at least three seasons, with a fully guaranteed first year, so being included in the trade will work out well for Williams, Gray, and Cheatham, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter). They would have been hard-pressed to find fully guaranteed minimum-salary contracts on the open market.
Darius Miller – who is also being sent to Oklahoma City from New Orleans – is another big winner in the swap, as he’ll have his $7MM salary guaranteed for salary-matching purposes.
With all of those players being included in the deal, Adams will no longer be required to waive his trade kicker, worth about $2MM, tweets Marks. That’ll bump the veteran center’s cap hit to about $29.6MM.
As reported by Charania, the blockbuster Holiday/Adams deal currently looks like this:
- Bucks to acquire Holiday and the draft rights to Sam Merrill (No. 60 pick; from Pelicans).
- Pelicans to acquire Adams, Bledsoe, the Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), the Bucks’ 2027 first-round pick (unprotected), and the right to swap first-round picks with the Bucks in 2024 and 2026.
- Thunder to acquire George Hill, Miller, Williams, Gray, Cheatham, the Nuggets’ 2023 first-round pick (top-14 protected), the Wizards’ 2023 second-round pick (from Pelicans), and the Hornets’ 2024 second-round pick (from Pelicans).
- Nuggets to acquire the draft rights to RJ Hampton (No. 24 pick; from Bucks).
It’s not clear if that’s what the trade will look like in its final form or if more pieces will be added before it becomes official.
The Bucks are taking the protections off the 2022 first-round pick they previously sent to the Cavaliers, and Cleveland is getting an extra second-round pick for Milwaukee for accommodating that change, which frees up the future first-rounders to be sent to New Orleans. That pick going to the Cavs will be Indiana’s 2025 second-rounder, per John Hollinger of The Athletic.
The Bucks/Cavaliers aspect of the deal could be completed separately, as cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. But if it gets rolled into this trade, it would mean a fifth team joining the fray once it becomes official.