Valanciunas Traded to the Pelicans, Adams and Bledsoe Headed to Memphis
There were rumours that the New Orleans Pelicans were looking to move off Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe and just days before the Draft they did exactly that.
In fact, they accomplished it in a single transaction.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Pelicans have finalized a deal which would send Adams and Bledsoe along with two future first-round picks to Memphis for Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th overall pick. One of the picks heading to Memphis is the 10th overall pick in this Thursday’s NBA Draft.
New Orleans creates salary cap space for August that allows them to either match an offer sheet on Lonzo Ball, or have the cap space to pursue a significant free agent point guard, including Kyle Lowry and others. Pels liked Valanciunas as floor spacer at center over Adams, too. https://t.co/3YRyBTEg1S
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 26, 2021
In an effort to create significant financially flexibility, the Pelicans will be desperately looking to add top tier talent around their two franchise cornerstones in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. With the move, the Pelicans will have the cap space to match any offer sheet for restricted free agent point guard Lonzo Ball while also pursuing a max-contract unrestricted free agent. The Pelicans are also reportedly interested in bringing back Josh Hart.
Formerly drafted by the Toronto Raptors, Valanciunas is coming off yet another strong season in which he finished third in the entire league in rebounding and double-doubles. The 29-year old Valanciunas still has $28-million dollars and two years remaining on his current deal before he can become a free agent.