07/26 19:50 CDT AP Source: Pelicans, Grizzlies, agree to multi-player trade
AP Source: Pelicans, Grizzlies, agree to multi-player trade
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) --- The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to trade center Jonas
Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for center Steven Adams,
guard Eric Bledsoe and an exchange of first-round choices in this week's draft,
a person familiar with the situation said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday
because no trade can become official until Aug. 6.
The trade, first reported by ESPN, sends New Orleans' 10th and 40th overall
draft choices to Memphis for the Grizzlies' 17th and 51st overall picks this
Memphis also will receive a protected 2022 first-round choice from New Orleans.
The deal comes on the heels of New Orleans' decision to hired new coach Willie
Green and as the franchise faces mounting pressure to inspire confidence in
star forward Zion Williamson after missing the playoffs with two different
coaches in each of his first two NBA seasons.
Valanciunas has played nine seasons in the NBA, averaging 12.9 and 9.2 points
per game. The 29-year-old native of Lithuania has spent his past three seasons
with Memphis. Last season, he averaged 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds to help
the Grizzlies reach the playoffs.
The deal also clears the way for young guards Nickiel Alexander-Walker and Kira
Lewis Jr. --- both first-round draft choices in the past two years --- to see
more playing time. The move also gives the Pelicans more than $20 million in
additional space under the salary cap heading into free agency. Valanciunas is
due $14 million this season, while Bledsoe is set to earn $18 million and Adams
Bledsoe is an 11-year veteran who averaged 12.2 points, 3.8 assists and and 3.4
rebounds in his lone season with the Pelicans, who had acquired him from
Milwaukee during the 2020 offseason as part of a trade that sent Jrue Holiday
to the Bucks.
Adams is an eight-year veteran who averaged 8.9 rebounds and 7.6 points for New
Orleans last season after spending his first seven NBA campaigns with Oklahoma
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