New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies ‘generating traction’ on blockbuster trade

The New Orleans Pelicans have been talking to other teams about moving the 10th pick in the coming 2021 NBA Draft later this week.

New Orleans is attempting to find more veteran talent for young forward Zion Williamson. It is also looking to move off the bloated contract of point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Enter into the equation the Memphis Grizzlies. They have cap room to take on a bad contract and could potentially move up from the 17th spot.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the two sides are gaining traction on a blockbuster trade that would send the 10th pick and Bledsoe to Memphis for a package including the 17th selection heading back to the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Sources said the Pelicans have generated traction with the Grizzlies in a framework that would swap that 10th selection for the 17th pick while also sending Eric Bledsoe back to Memphis,” Fischer noted.

How would Eric Bledsoe trade from the New Orleans Pelicans look?

new orleans pelicans trade eric bledsoe
May 10, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) drives to the basket during the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, Memphis has a projected $12.4 million in cap room. Bledsoe himself is slated to earn $18.13 million in 2021-22, meaning that the Pelicans would have to take another contract back in return.

If we were to conclude that Pelicans front office head David Griffin is truly intent on finding more veteran talent, wing Kyle Anderson could make sense for the team. He averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds for Memphis a season ago. A move of this ilk would free up north of $8 million, giving New Orleans roughly $25 million to work with under the cap.

Why would this make sense for Memphis? It’s rather clear. The team would be able to acquire a top-10 pick to help the young core of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. after a surprise appearance in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. It has the cap room to take on Bledsoe’s deal and could even potentially flip him down the road.

Creating more cap room while still retaining a first-round selection would help New Orleans add veteran pieces to go with Williamson, who apparently isn’t happy about the direction of the organization after yet another non-playoff season to open his career.

The Pelicans have a lot of work to do this summer, including either re-signing restricted free agent Lonzo Ball or getting something for him in a sign-and-trade with another team. Right now, the odds seem to favor Ball choosing another NBA city to house him moving forward. If Bledsoe is traded, acquiring a veteran point guard for Williamson would then become a top priority.

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