The New Orleans Pelicans started the offseason with a big trade of Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Pels took back Jonas Valanciunas in exchange for moving back seven spots in the NBA Draft.
It was a trade I liked at the time and after Summer League, it is looking even better for the Pels.
The New Orleans Pelicans got the best player
Bledsoe and Adams were not fits with Zion Williamson, so it might have been an addition by subtraction situation even if the Pels didn’t get Valanciunas.
But they did, so the Pels not only got rid of two guys who weren’t great fits but got back a really good player in Valanciunas in return whose skillset should more closely align with what they need from a big man.
The Pelicans cleared some cap space
The Pelicans sent $35 million in salary to the Memphis Grizzlies, who have since traded Eric Bledsoe for Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu, which was a pretty decent return in my opinion.
But I’d rather have the cap space, as the Pelicans could still get a guy like Lauri Markkanen or make a sign-and-trade of Josh Hart for a bigger salary. Even if they don’t use it right away, some flexibility will come handy later in the season and the Pels no longer have any bad contracts.
New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Murphy III looks like a steal
I thought one of the biggest takeaways from Summer League was that the Pelicans might have gotten a steal with Trey Murphy III.
I really like Ziaire Williams for Memphis as well and you can’t get too carried away over Summer League, but Murphy III looks like player who will help the Pelicans right away on both ends.
He is a better defender than advertised and could help unlock some small ball lineups for the Pels that will be very effective in certain situations.
It’s way too early to say that the Pels got the better player here, but I love what I’ve seen from Murphy III and it doesn’t appear they lost much if anything by moving back seven spots in the draft.
I like to give credit where it is due, especially after calling out some of David Griffin’s blunders, as it appears that this trade will work out well for the New Orleans Pelicans in a lot of ways.