The Memphis Grizzlies have reportedly moved up seven spots in the 2021 NBA draft in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, going from the No. 17 pick to the No. 10 pick according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Grizzlies are sending Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 51 pick to the Pelicans as well. New Orleans is sending Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe back to Memphis.
Valanciunas was a solid starter for the Grizzlies, averaging 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game this season. Adams will look to replace that level of production, although he’ll likely be more of a defensive presence while Jaren Jackson Jr. shoulders more of the scoring load. The Grizzlies take on Bledsoe’s contract and get a first-round pick for doing so. Bledsoe can play on the second unit and be a good mentor for Ja Morant, although Chris Haynes says he’s not expected to remain in Memphis.
The Pelicans free up some cap space in the deal and more importantly, get out of Bledsoe’s contract. This opens up the possibility for New Orleans to match offers on Lonzo Ball in restricted free agency. Although the Pelicans are moving down seven spots in the draft, they get some additional flexibility in an attempt to maximize the roster around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.