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AP Source: Pelicans, Grizzlies, agree to multi-player trade
FILE – In this Dec. 18, 2020, file photo, New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe, front left, and center Steven Adams, right, block Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, front center, from going to the basket in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game in New Orleans. A person familiar with the situation says the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to trade center Jonas Valanciunas to the Pelicans in exchange for Adams, Bledsoe and an exchange of first-round choices in this weeks draft. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday, July 26, 2021, because no trade can become official until Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
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 year.
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 $17 million.
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 City.
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