The Grizzlies and Pelicans made a significant splash today, registering the first trade of NBA draft week. As we previously reported, Memphis will ship center Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 17 and No. 51 selections in the 2021 draft to New Orleans for center Steven Adams, guard Eric Bledsoe, the Nos. 10 and 40 picks, plus a top-10-protected 2022 first-round pick from the Lakers.
The top-10 protected 2022 Lakers pick will become two second-rounders if it doesn’t convey in next year’s draft, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The protection was previously reported, but the two second-rounders element was not.
It appears that the Grizzlies may not be done dealing, as they look to continue to build their roster around promising point guard Ja Morant and intriguing big man Jaren Jackson Jr. Morant led the Grizzlies to their first playoff appearance since the 2016-17 season this year. During the 2021 postseason, Memphis fell 4-1 in the first round to the Jazz.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports (Twitter link) that the Grizzlies may be looking to move up even higher in the lottery ahead of Thursday’s draft. Memphis could be trying to add NBA G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga or Connecticut guard James Bouknight, per O’Connor.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the Grizzlies also auditioned Arkansas guard Moses Moody during a private Los Angeles work out last week, apparently expecting to move into the lottery even at the time. Givony adds (Twitter link) that Michigan center Franz Wagner, projected to be selected as high as the No. 7 pick, could be a potential Grizzlies target. Adelaide point guard Josh Giddey is another apparent prospect for Memphis, Givony indicates.
New Grizzlies guard Eric Bledsoe, who had a down season during his lone year with the Pelicans, is not anticipated to remain in Memphis next season, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. It is not at present clear if Bledsoe, a two-time All-Defensive Team selection, will be traded or see his $18.13M 2021-22 contract waived or stretched. The Grizzlies would most likely need to attach assets in any trade of Bledsoe.