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Memphis Grizzlies trading Jonas Valanciunas to New Orleans Pelicans

Apr 17, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) takes a shot against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) takes a shot against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies are trading center Jonas Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for center Steven Adams and guard Eric Bledsoe, ESPN reported Monday.

The deal also involves several picks in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft, with Memphis sending the Nos. 17 and 51 picks to New Orleans for the Nos. 10 and 40 selections. The Grizzlies also receive a protected 2022 first-round pick, per the report.

Valanciunas, 29, averaged 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds in 62 games (61 starts) for Memphis in 2020-21, his ninth season in the NBA. He is due to earn $14 million in the final year of his contract next season.

Adams, 28, averaged 7.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 58 games (all starts) for New Orleans in 2020-21, his eighth season in the league. He has two years remaining on a contract extension that will pay him $17 million in 2021-22 and nearly $18 million in 2022-23.

Bledsoe, 31, averaged 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 71 games (70 starts) for the Pelicans in 2020-21, his 11th NBA campaign. He is owed $18.1 million next season and $19.4 million in 2022-23.

The salary cap savings could help the Pelicans make a run at Toronto Raptors free agent point guard Kyle Lowry, a six-time All-Star who could command $25 to $30 million per season.

–Field Level Media