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Reports: Pelicans, Grizzlies finalizing trade before NBA Draft

The deal reportedly will include New Orleans sending the No. 10 draft pick to Memphis for No. 17.

From NBA.com News Services

Steven Adams (right) and Jonas Valanciunas reportedly will be included in a trade that is being finalized.

The New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a deal that will send center Jonas Valanciunas and 2021 NBA Draft picks to New Orleans for center Steven Adams, guard Eric Beldsoe and Draft picks, according to multiple reports. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was first to report the deal.

The Grizzlies reportedly will flip the 17th and 51st picks in this Thursday’s NBA Draft to the Pelicans for the 10th and 40th pick, plus a 2022 first-round pick.

The deal clears the way for young Pelicans guards Nickeil 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 New Orleans 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.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Bledsoe is expected to remain on the move and not stay with Memphis. He averaged 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists last season with the Pelicans and shot 42.1% overall, his worst mark since the 2016-17 season.

Both big men are known for their rugged play and Valanciunas averaged career-highs for points (17.1) and rebounds (12.5) over 62 games with Memphis last season. Adams averaged 7.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, which were slight from the usual double-double type figures he has enjoyed throughout his career.

Adams is entering his ninth season, the first seven of which were spent with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Valanciunas, the 29-year-old center from Lithuania, is entering his 10th season and was traded once before when the Toronto Raptors dealt him to the Grizzlies in the 2018-19 season.

The deal comes on the heels of New Orleans’ decision to hire Willie Green, their third head coach in three seasons, as the franchise faces mounting pressure to inspire confidence in star forward Zion Williamson after missing the playoffs his first two NBA campaigns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBA.com will have more on this story as it develops.

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