NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans are making major changes to the roster, just days ahead of the NBA Draft.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans sent Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the No. 10 and No. 40 picks in this year's draft and the Lakers' pick from the 2022 draft to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas and 2021's Nos. 17 and 51 picks.
Bledsoe and Adams were acquired before the 2020 season to provide veteran leadership to a young Pelicans team. They both played heavy minutes as starters on a team that had playoff hopes, but never lived up to expectations in 2020.
The trade saves the Pelicans around $20 million in cap space next season, with Bledsoe and Adams due a combined $35 million, according to Sportrac.com. Valanciunas on the other hand is due just $14 million next season, but can leave as an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Valanciunas averaged around 17 points and 12 rebounds a game last season in Memphis, shooting just under 60% from the floor and around 37% from beyond the arc.
He'll compete with Jaxson Hayes and Willy HernanGomez for minutes at center next season.
The trade also moves the Pelicans down seven spots in the first round of the NBA draft and down 11 spots in the second round.
The NBA Draft takes place this Thursday, July 29, at 7 p.m. CST.