The New Orleans Pelicans made the first big trade of the offseason, sending Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the 10th pick and a future first rounder to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th pick.
The trade was a pretty big admission of guilt by David Griffin, who moved on from both of his mistakes from last offseason.
I have to give him credit for not throwing good money after bad, and for actually making a trade that should benefit New Orleans in a number of ways.
The Pels get a more versatile big man to put around Zion Williamson, and all they had to give up was seven draft spots and two players who were not good fits.
Rumors about this had been floating all week and the news broke just after I wrote about how much sense such a move would make, showing clearly that David Griffin reads Pelican Debrief for approval of his moves (just kidding).
The biggest gain in this was the cap space the Pelicans acquired by getting rid of Bledsoe and Adams’ contracts.
New Orleans Pelicans: How much cap space to the Pelicans have after Memphis trade?
It’s still unclear exactly how much cap space the Pels will have because a lot of it depends on what they do with their own free agents. Both Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are entering restricted free agency and the Pelicans will have some tough decisions to make.
Here’s a breakdown of their potential cap space from Keith Smith of Spotrac:
One of the lesser reported parts of the deal is the rumor that the Pelicans were trying to work out a contract with Josh Hart, so I expect the second option to be the most likely, which would leave the Pelicans with approximately $26 million in cap space.
What they will do with that space is anyone’s guess, as it would likely be enough to re-sign Lonzo Ball and maybe one other mid-level free agent, or they could blow it all on a big name like Kyle Lowry.
The Pelicans could also use that space to make another trade, absorbing a contract in exchange for future draft picks without the need to send back matching salaries.
It gives the Pelicans a ton of options, so buckle in because this is going to be a wild offseason.