The Grizzlies and Pelicans are finalizing a trade that will involve several players and draft picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
As Wojnarowski reports, the deal will send Jonas Valanciunas and the Nos. 17 and 51 picks to New Orleans in exchange for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, the Nos. 10 and 40 picks, and the Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick. The Pelicans will add top-10 protection to that ’22 first-rounder, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).
The trade, our second of the offseason and the first of draft week, is a fascinating move for two Southwest teams looking to make the playoffs in 2022.
The Pelicans had been considered highly likely to trade at least one of Adams or Bledsoe, both of whom are on pricey contracts and weren’t viewed as part of the team’s long-term future. Rather than just moving one of the two, they’ll send both to Memphis, creating significant cap flexibility for this year’s free agent period.
Bledsoe ($18.13MM) and Adams ($17.07MM) will earn a combined $35MM+ in 2021/22, while Valanciunas is on the books for just $14MM. Valanciunas is also entering a contract year, whereas Adams has one more guaranteed season left in ’22/23 and Bledsoe has a partial guarantee, so the Pelicans won’t just be opening up cap room this summer — they’ll create future flexibility as well.
Swapping out Adams for Valanciunas should allow the Pelicans to improve their frontcourt spacing. Valanciunas isn’t exactly a long-distance marksman, but has a solid mid-range game and will shoot the occasional three-pointer, which should create more room for Zion Williamson to operate. The former No. 5 overall pick averaged an impressive 17.1 PPG and 12.5 RPG with a .592/.368/.773 shooting line in 62 games (28.3 MPG) this past season.
Moving Bledsoe’s contract also puts the Pelicans in position to either bring back restricted free agent Lonzo Ball or pursue another point guard in free agency. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, New Orleans could create up to about $36MM in cap space by letting Ball and Josh Hart walk, or approximately $25MM in space by retaining Hart’s cap hold and letting go of Ball. Kyle Lowry is rumored to be among the Pelicans’ potential free agent targets.
As for the Grizzlies, they’ll presumably decline Justise Winslow‘s $13MM team option in order to create the cap room necessary to take on Adams and Bledsoe once the new league year begins in August, Marks notes (via Twitter).
While Adams and Bledsoe didn’t have great seasons in New Orleans, they’ve both been productive in the past and are bounce-back candidates in Memphis if the fit is better. Adams posted 7.6 PPG and 8.9 RPG in 58 games (27.7 MPG) in 2020/21, while Bledsoe put up 12.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 3.4 RPG on .421/.341/.687 shooting in 71 games (29.7 MPG).
The Grizzlies also significantly improve their draft assets in the swap, moving up seven spots in the first round and 11 spots in the second while also adding an extra first-round pick for next year. They’re now in position to have three first-rounders in next year’s draft, since they also hold Utah’s top-six protected first-rounder.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links) have both heard that Australian guard Josh Giddey is the player the Grizzlies are targeting with the No. 10 pick.
74 thoughts on “Grizzlies, Pelicans Finalizing Deal To Swap Valanciunas, Adams, Bledsoe, Picks”
Does Bledsoe make the Grizzlies any better? Odd trade for them.
They got to trade up 7 spots so maybe that could be a big deal? Also they are the 3rd youngest team in NBA so maybe the leadership aspect could be helpful?
Bledsoe is just the tack on to get them improved draft picks + the Lakers pick in 22. It wouldn’t surprise me if he never puts on a Memphis uniform at all.
No, but he won’t be hard to cut, only 4M partial guarantee in 22-23.
Wally, that’s the conclusion you come to with all the pieces in this trade? Does Eric Bledsoe make the Grizzlies any better?
It’s all starting to make sense now. I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt for five years but I think I’ve caught up to everyone else now.
Return is a little low for Memphis unless they REALLY want a guy at 10. Lakers’ 2022 is technically a “future first” that everyone thought NO would need to move Bledsoe/Adams, but it’s about as ho-hum of a 1st that you could get.
Having said that, 51 to 40 is also in there so maybe it’s kind of equitable? IDK, Adams and Bledsoe were both bad last year and JV was good. So to dump both for just two swaps a low-end future first and getting a better player? I’d say this is a win for Griffin.
I’m sad to see J Vale leave Memphis. Thought he fit nicely on the squad but they got some assets in return. Probably good to have some vets on this young, up and coming team
Meanwhile, not sure if Vale is gonna stretch the floor and clear space for Zion. He definitely can stretch the floor better, but maybe this opens up some financial flexibility to resign Lonzo or go for Lowry or another big FA splash
Pelicans have $46 million cap room to sign free agents
Sign both Lowry and DeRozan
Sign both Chris Paul and Payne
If they Let Ball and Hart walk for nothing
why would CP3 go to New Orleans?? lmao bruh
36M not 46
Pelicans win, Bledsoe has been washed for 5 years and while adams is a very adequate player, he needs to be to close to the basket to be effective and that cramps zion, vali can spread the floor a little and now Pelicans can match Lonzos incoming offer sheet
Grizzlies use the cap to absorb Bledsoe contract
Agreed. Memphis must love someone at 10 and/or have serious reservations about extending JV.
Is it possible that Memphis wants to package #10 with the Lakers pick (and maybe others) to move up even more?
Why in the world would the Grizzlies do this. They downgrade at Center, and Bledsoe is probably a bench player at this point behind Morant. Moving up to 10 is nice but they’re a playoff team at this point and needed to add to the core, not subtract. Jonas is way better than Steven Adams.
If they can flip Bledsoe (knicks?) for a second rounder or a less expensive role player and not retain any salary it could be a win for the Griz.
In this scenario, the Knicks are giving up a second rounder to acquire Bledsoe? Surely you jest. Grizzlies would need to attach a pick to Bledsoe to ship him out.
It looks like more of a long-term type of deal for Memphis, while the Pelicans try improve their chances of making the playoffs in 2022. This will be a make-or-break trade for NO.
Wally how is this a make-or-break trade for New Orleans? This was a maneuver to shed salary and contracts. They ship out two older players with limited production for 1 with decent production and a shorter contract.
I would say more a Jrue Holiday Milwaukee perspective trade is make-or-break, not one sending out two bad contracts and older players.
Or could be talking a deal to trade a big man to GSW for a draft pick and Oubre.
JV is not that much better than Adams, if at all. They just have very different skill sets.
link to stathead.com
JV is higher-rated probably due to rebounding. But his main asset is probably being helpful away from the rim… and winning more games last year. Valen does foul more, but Adams is awful at the line.
MEM is loaded with PGs; Bled did not do well at 2G in NOLA. What a fall if he is waived… his on-off was good in MIL at PG.
The #10 pick could get a much better player than #17 tho if NOLA gets Davion Mitchell there anyway, which is possible… that would win the trade.
Agree with all of this – will be interesting to see what they do with EB.
Seems like they’ll probably eat the money this year and let him ride the bench then buy him out next year. Memphis is deep on the perimeter and, barring a major resurgence, I don’t see Bledsoe cracking their rotation.
Good trade for the pelicans . Jonas is better than Steven Adams in spacing the floor and Bledsoe really did not fit and is regression . It also open up cap space for them to resign lonzo and or Lowry and or a SG who shoot .
I bet Memphis drafts Jalen Johnson at 10… They need a big versatile wing like him. Kispert or Giddey would be good for them too but obv they wanted to move up in the draft badly & Johnson is the perfect fit. Bledsoe & Adams fit their style pretty perfectly too. I’m wondering if this makes Tyus Jones or DeAnthony Melton expendable now
Griz are paying $60 mil to get this year’s #10 and a non-lottery 1st rounder next year. Bledsoe as a back up will do less damage and maybe come out even. Adams is less than Jonas so I guess they are hoping the draft will provide a big score or they may be other moves in the making.
Non lottery? How do you know the Lakers won’t be in the lottery next year? LeBron is not a young man and Davis is not exactly and iron man either. Either of them miss an extended period of time and the Lakers are EASILY a lottery team next year.
The pick is top 10 protected next year. So best case is the very end of the lottery.
Bron & AD both missed extended time this yr & LA wasn’t EASILY a lottery team. Not sure what makes that dude think they’ll be a lottery team next season
Still not a bad thing to get for basically free. And the end of the lottery is not a “non-lottery” pick.
Well, the pick is going to be top 10 protected so if it lottery, so assuming that happens it will have to land 11-14.
Both LeBron and AD missed extensive time this year and they still ended up making the playoffs. Sure LeBron is 37 and AD has his proneness to knicks and nacks, but I’m not sure I’d bet on a major injury to either.
For what it’s worth, the play-in tournament creates significantly more risk that a “good” team’s pick could end up in that 11-14 range.
The Lakers have the No. 22 pick this year, but if they’d lost their play-in games, it’d be No. 14 instead. (On a smaller scale, the Warriors went from 17 to 14 as a result of losing their play-in games.)
They also save even more money in the draft picks as later selections will carry lesser salaries
Trafficking in “bad” contracts for draft picks is best left to rebuilding teams. Memphis should realize that they are no longer that. JV vs Adams isn’t just about $$ and years, one fit well with the current group the other, at best, might. Bledsoe is in a version of on court retirement. The draft capital is nice, and it matters, but not as much as team chemistry and culture.
To be honest I believe that the grizzlies won that trade
I agree. I think Memphis fans are overrating JV just a bit. In my opinion, he and Steven Adams basically cancel each other out.
So you get a move up of 7 spots in the first and 11 spots in the second in this draft along with an extra pick in next year’s draft for taking on Bledsoe. To me, that is a win for Memphis. At least on paper.
I don’t think they cancel each other out, but some folks seem to be acting as if it would be a huge downgrade. It’s a bit of a downgrade and now they have less spacing, but it’s not a massive difference.
So you move up from 17 to 10, move up a bit in the 2nd round, and get a dart throw in the draft next year depending on how the Lakers finish. Did take on a decent bit of money though.
I don’t love it for them but I think it’s pretty fair, if perhaps a slight loss. Obviously, a) they feel confident whoever they want will available at 10 and b) they really like that player or players. And with the way they’ve been drafting, why not take that swing? If they hit on that pick everyone will say the Grizzlies won this deal. If they don’t, well…
JV and Adams absolutely do not “cancel each other out”. Adams is ground bound big with a range of 10 feet and zero post moves, and basically a liability on offense without Westbrook feeding him. JV actually has post moves, a decent midrange, and can hit 3s. JV is a positive asset and Adams is not.
Morant be feeding his people too though, Adam’s is an upgrade on defense and downgrade on offense, maybe they believe that a healthy JJJ makes up for that offense and then some? Plus the ten in a deep draft.
They did win the trade. Cats here don’t know much about GM dynamics. No free agent Star is coming to Memphis, the better draft picks they can get it serves the team better. These short term contracts for backups aren’t hampering them
Yeah I agree, seems like Adams and maybe even Bledsoe are decent bounce back candidates. SVG is pretty awful coach.
So much for winning grizzlies
At first glance Pelicans win imo
This deal doesn’t move the needle for either team. Jonas is good but he isn’t a good fit on paper with Zion. Memphis takes on a ton of money this year for the 10 pick in a weak draft.
Lol… If u think this is a weak draft u obv haven’t been following these kids at all
The draft gurus have already said this is a 5 player draft. Doesn’t mean at ten u can’t land a good player but u should want something better for taking on Adams/Bledsoe deal
You’re the first lesson to refer to this draft as weak. They can easily nab a good player at 10 and im sure they’ve already identified 1 or 2 guys they like.
The article says they are likely targeting Josh Giddey. Most mocks I have seen have him falling anywhere from 12-15, so the trade up for him makes a lot of sense.
Then again, now every other team that really wants Giddey knows they will need to get to pick #9 to get him. And Sacramento is rumored to be peddling that pick. So if I am the Grizzlies, I am not happy that that particular piece of info leaked.
Fans overrate draft picks in the nba. If it’s not top 3-5 unless it’s a deep draft. Everyone has already reported that Kings and Pelicans were trying to move pick 9-10.
Not entirely true. Fans of teams that aren’t very good at drafting probably overrate them. Fans of teams like the Spurs who generally draft very well, if anything, underrate them.
Teams that are always in the lottery clearly overrate them. Spurs are the most well run team in the nba over the last 20+ years. It’s easy to pick out the one great team at it. No other team is the Spurs at drafting
True but there are a few other organizations which are generally pretty good at drafting.
“Teams that are always in the lottery clearly overrate them.”
100% agree with this. Some fans seem to think ending up with a high lottery pick is a good thing. For some like the Raptors, it is. For other organizations, there’s a reason why they keep ending up with those picks.
You do realize we won’t know if they draft was deep or not for a couple years right?
Plenty of draft guys have called the overall class as weak after the top 5. They do think this is a better overall class then last year class which was weaker
Bledsoe is good when the game is not on the line. He will be a good 6th man for them. Adams will give them the muscle to deal with Ayton, Towns and Joker. They are only hurt cap wise for the following year and they added an extra vet. Bledsoe should play hard with something to prove. He can play beside Ja too! I like the move for both teams!
I can’t believe Griffin just fleeced Memphis by getting them to take on Bledsoe & Adams for really little compensation. Hopefully, he’ll now do a Lowry s&t with Raps in return for Lonzo s&t and the return of JV. Griffin needs to win now to save his position.
Seems like TOR & NO could just S&S each other’s PG instead, with fewer rules attached. Then they will wonder, why even that!
Big win for Memphis on this one. JV and SA are a wash. Memphis moves up 7 slots in the first round (which is a big deal, normally very expensive), also in the 2nd round, AND gets an extra pick next year, which might be pretty good if the Lakers have some bad luck with age and injuries, and which allows them to trade their own pick if they get the right offer. All for taking on a good defensive guard for a year who is probably about average overall, if badly overpaid. Nicely done.
I swear I have no idea how people think JV and Adams are a wash even if you never watch them play and just look at their stats.
Has to be just looking at stats
JV is one guy I’d love the raptors to get back. Say what you want about him but he plays hard and is a great teammate and you never hear him complain.
Good deal for Pels, time will tell for Griz.
Boy upon first digestion this really feels like a NO win, and for them it certainly is
Im trying to get inside Memphis head here tho as it’s less clear .
They have had cap problems for years but perhaps open cap to them isn’t as much as a boon as to other teams as it’s really hard to attract players in free agency based on location.
In this case trading for solid players under contract is a route they take upon necessity rather than being optimal for cap purposes – They must also be high on someone in that 10 range, perhaps a Moody Keon or maybe Sengun to learn from Adams for 2 years and be the next Jonas……..
Think this is a good example of how cap and location factor into different teams differently. A big market team probably would never take this route Imo regardless where they sat today (rebuilding, middle team, or true contender)..When your an Indiana Memphis etc there just has to be a totally different blueprint than the big cities
Interesting move. I could see Bledsoe being buyout/stretch provision and Adams being a future expiring deal or salary match to help with a trade. Pels did well here in having room to operate this off-season. Usually, when you hear negative comments from both sides, its a fair deal. LOL
I see this as a great move for both sides. Pels adding Val should help unleash Zion (and make no mistake, Zion will be a savage this year), helps Pels clear up cap space to retain Lonzo (yes there keeping Lonzo), and Grizzlies move up in the draft which is great for them given there track record of evaluating talent, and Steven Adams while not the OKC Australian board hog he was, I think he’ll help out Memphis just fine. Taking on Bledsoe isn’t amazing but he’s easily cut next year and Grizz might even find a desperate enough team this year to unload him for a pick. Overall this is a B move for both teams and the potential to be higher.
I’m assuming the only reason Memphis would do this is they want to be in position should C. Cunningham drop to 10.
Why Memphis? Why? JV is undoubtedly better than Adams. Adams is a bit better on defense, but no where close on offense. They just made the playoffs with their current roster, and could’ve had over $20 mil in cap space for another piece, after declining Winslow’s option. If it was just JV and Adams plus the 2nd round swaps and LAL pick I could be alright with it. You add Bledsoe and a swap of 1st is where it gets bad. Yes you move up 7 spots, but you probably could’ve gotten #9 for less, or even a better guard for cheaper. Plus there are some pretty comparable players that could be had at #17, even though Memphis has had some good drafts recently. Bledsoe has not been good lately as evidenced by how little he was valued in the Jrue trade. Not to mention NOLA has had a hard time to this point unloading him even with a first added (rumors have said at least, so I cannot view him as a positive asset). If it was Bledsoe and their 1st for something like Utah’s future 1st that might be a bit easier to swallow too. Bledsoe is not a great shooter, so can’t see him as a SG option. Not sure how he improves them considering they have Tyus Jones as a backup PG already. Unless they have some other trades in the works for some good assets, I don’t see why they make this trade. So if it was Adams, Bledsoe, #10, #40, & the best ’22 1st pick (either NOLA or LAL) for JV, #51, & ’22 UTAH 1st I would think it was closer to even. As it currently sits NOLA won this trade without a doubt. I guess Memphis enjoys having bad contracts on the books, and it is been too long since they had Parsons on the books.
No free agent worth a damn is coming to Memphis. They could use these contracts and draft picks for more talent and/or possible salary match in trades. If all else fails, good talent evaluation can help them build a dope team with top 10 picks.
You dudes need to put your thinking caps on
Of course no superstar is going there, unless by some stroke of luck they end up hitting big time on their next few picks and start something special like GSW. That is definitely a pipe dream for Memphis no doubt, but there is a minuscule chance that it happens.
However, solid FAs that can play the position they prefer, get to play with a guy like Ja, and can get paid more than some other places are willing to spend would for sure be open to going there. I can’t envision a player like Norman Powell (a guy who prefers playing SG but was moved to SF in POR) or a similar player (players I would consider to be ‘worth a damn’, as you so eloquently put it) would just balk at going to a place like Memphis because of their small market. That is just absurd to think that every guy in that tier of player would just say no to playing in Memphis.
My qualm was not just with the players they got and their bad contracts, but also with the fact that Memphis should’ve been able to get more than they did imo. Moving up 7 spots is great and all, but they take a shot in the dark that their guy is still going to be there. If they do this trade on draft night, I can see them paying a little more of a premium (which is what I would consider this trade as it currently sits) to secure someone they covet. But having no idea which players are still on the board, which team/s have reached, which player/s have fell, and everything else that has yet to happen I imagine they could’ve gotten more. Also, getting a guy like EB when you already have a capable (albeit not splashy) backup PGs in Tyus Jones & DeAnthony Melton just creates too much of a logjam. If they did the trade per my suggestion I outlined above or heck even add a pick swap or two into the current deal it would’ve been better. But I am interested in seeing what other dominos fall now that this has happened. Are they just going to trade EB to someone else? If so, are they going to just give away the draft capital they got to do it? Are they just going to waive and stretch him? Are they going to move Jones, Melton, or Allen now? I’m not sure, but I think they could’ve gotten at least a little better deal and I’m eager to see what the FO does next.
Memphis has indeed been in cap hell for some time and was just starting to crawl outta that hole -I wouldn’t say this put them back in cap hell it just uses it all up in the short term
Cap is so interesting as it’s not universal in its weight, flex power, persuasion and value to all 30 teams equally –
I know we all have our modes of internet Gm’N …some play it safe, some like big risks, some like young kids and others love their vets consuming up their cap
I just think it’s important here to realize this is Memphis and it’s not necessarily as blank of a canvas spending cap as we paint it in our brains.
There are restrictions, there are problems they face in Free agency that has nothing to do w them and they may never be able to overcome. We kinda need to walk a mile in their shoes first before we speak from our own boots-
Just my 2 cents
Pelicans gave up way too much for cap space
Seems Pelicans won this trade.
Grizzles seem to have other moves coming regarding draft and moving Bledsoe.
Valacinuas was huge for grizzles and at times helped their offense, so they’re losing on that end.
Hopefully Adams can teach JJJ how to rebound.