New Orleans Pelicans: Grade for the Memphis trade, the present
One of the other big benefits of this trade to the present roster is that the Pelicans got rid of Eric Bledsoe, who had a bad attitude, was a bad fit and simply had a bad season for the Pels.
Not only do they get rid of his lackluster play, but his subtraction opens up more minutes for Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who I believe is on the verge of a breakout season.
Not only that, but the Pelicans cleared a ton of cap space in the trade, enough to re-sign Lonzo Ball and a mid-level free agent or to use on a big name like Kyle Lowry or maybe even Chris Paul.
This was the biggest gain in the trade, as the Pels needed an injection of impact talent and probably weren’t going to get it with the 10th pick in the NBA Draft.
They will now have as much as $36 million in cap space depending on what they do with their own guys.
Finally, moving down seven spots in the NBA Draft could end up hurting the Pelicans, but it’s also just as likely that they can find a useful talent in that range, as there isn’t usually a huge gap between these picks and this is a very deep draft.
Some of the same guys available at 10 might still be there at 17, so the Pels might get the guy they want anyway.
I might be biased (I am) but I really don’t see any downside to this trade for the present. The Pelicans got a better fit, cap space and will still have a first round pick in a deep draft.