The New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies have swung a blockbuster trade, swapping centers Steven Adams for Jonas Valanciunas in a multi-player and pick deal.
Reports first surfaced Sunday that the two sides were discussing a deal to send Eric Bledsoe and the No. 10 pick for the 17th selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. With the Pelicans seeking to make a big move in free agency, they have swung a deal to create significant cap space.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, New Orleans is sending Bledsoe, Adams, the 10th pick, 40th pick and a protected Los Angeles Lakers first-round pick to Memphis. In exchange, the Grizzlies will send Valanciunas and the No. 17 and 51 picks to the Pelicans.
New Orleans needed to create significant cap flexibility this summer to pursue free-agent point guard Kyle Lowry. The 2019 NBA champion and six-time All-Star selection is the Pelicans’ top target this offseason.
The Pelicans acquire Adams and Bledsoe before the 2020-’21 NBA season in a blockbuster four-team deal. Adams later signed a two-year, $35 million extension with the franchise.
Valanciunas will provide New Orleans with better floor spacing alongside Zion Williamson, who the team is hoping to convince it can build a playoff team around. If the Pelicans can’t land Lowry, it could match any offer restricted free-agent Lonzo Ball receives.