The New Orleans Pelicans dropped the first big bomb of the summer, trading Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the 10th pick and a future first for Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th pick.
I thought a move like this would make sense for a number of reasons but was still surprised that David Griffin was able to pull it off, as I didn’t think there would be much of a market for Bledsoe and Adams and he managed to deal both in one trade.
He was cleaning up his own mess, but I give him credit for recognizing it and moving on quickly instead of trying to put more into the sunk costs of his terrible roster construction.
When grading this trade, I am just going to look at the Pelicans’ side, as I am really not sure what Memphis is up to and don’t fully understand why they would make this deal unless there is someone they really LOVE with the 10th pick.
I’ll take a look at this trade from a number of angles and give grades for each. Let’s start with how the trade with Memphis affects the present.
New Orleans Pelicans: Grade for the Memphis trade, the present
When just looking at the present day value of this trade, I think it is a homerun for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Valanciunas gives you just about everything Adams does in terms of interior defense, rebounding and setting picks and has actually been a better rim protector than Adams for most of his career.
He is also WAY better on offense in just about every measurable way. He is a better scorer with more range, a pretty good passer and his ability to step out and hit jumpers should open more space for Zion Williamson on the inside.
Valanciunas is a winner who has been on some very good teams and should bring the same kind of veteran presence and leadership that Adams did.
In addition, the Pelicans get rid of Bledsoe, who was never a good fit and didn’t add much to the team on either end. It’s a win/win for the Pels when it comes to the present, as they got a player who is a better roster fit, but there is more.