Report: Grizzlies to trade Jonas Valanciunas, draft picks to Pelicans for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, picks
The Memphis Grizzlies are in the process of trading center Jonas Valanciunas and two draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for center Steven Adams, guard Eric Bledsoe and three picks, according to ESPN.
The Grizzlies would receive the No. 10 and No. 40 picks from the Pelicans in Thursday's NBA draft, in addition to a protected 2022 first-round pick. The Pelicans would receive the No. 17 and No. 51 picks to use Thursday from Memphis.
Per multiple reports, the 2022 pick, which the Pelicans acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in their trade for Anthony Davis, is top-10 protected, meaning the Grizzlies would only receive it if it falls outside the top 10 of the draft. The pick was unprotected when the Pelicans received it from Los Angeles.
The trade moves the Grizzlies into the lottery for Thursday but might not be the last move they make. Yahoo Sports reported Monday that Bledsoe, who's entering his 12th season, is not expected to remain in Memphis.
The Ringer also reported the Grizzlies could try to move up higher in the lottery by looking to make another deal.
Bledsoe is due to make $18.1 million next season, and Adams is owed $17 million in the first year of a two-year extension he signed last offseason. Bledsoe has also been a full-time starter the last eight seasons and struggled playing outside his natural position next to Lonzo Ball.
Valanciunas started 148 of 151 games in 2½ seasons with the Grizzlies after being acquired in the 2019 trade that sent Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors. He was a reliable double-double option in the post and averaged 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season.
However, he often didn't close out games due to the Grizzlies preferring to have more floor spacing and quickness. Valanciunas is a free agent next year and will make $14 million this upcoming season.
According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, because of the salaries involved, the trade won't be finalized until free agency begins Aug. 6. It also means the Grizzlies will likely decline Justise Winslow's $13 million option before Sunday's deadline in order to have cap space for Bledsoe and/or Adams.
By acquiring the Pelicans' first-round pick, the Grizzlies could have three first-round picks in the 2022 draft, as they still have their own pick and the Utah Jazz's first-round pick acquired in the 2019 trade for Mike Conley.
The Jazz's pick is top-six protected, meaning the Grizzlies will acquire it if it's outside of the top six spots.
Follow Evan Barnes on Twitter @evan_b.