Report: Grizzlies to trade Valanciunas to Pelicans to move into lottery in Thursday night’s NBA Draft


Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) shoots against Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic (9) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Grizzlies are shipping out one of this team’s top players for a chance to move into the lottery in Thursday night’s draft.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies are finalizing a deal with New Orleans to send veteran center Jonas Valanciunas to the Pelicans along with picks 17 and 51 in this year’s draft for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe and a trio of Pelicans draft picks, number-10 and number-40 this year along with a protected 2022 first round pick.

Each of the last two years, the Grizzlies have been aggressive when it comes to the NBA Draft and this year is no different.

The Grizzlies have long been rumored to be a team wanting to move up in this draft and they do but at the expense of Valanciunas who played here for two and a half years and averaged over 17 points and 12 and a half rebounds a game last season.

Those 12 and a half rebounds were third best in the NBA.

Adams, a player Grizz fans have grown to hate dating back to his days with Oklahoma City, averaged almost eight points and nine rebounds in New Orleans last year.

Bledsoe had a down year last year, shooting just 42 percent from the field, 34 percent from three point range in averaging 12 points a game but does give the Grizzlies some veteran moxie and scoring punch, off the bench.

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