The Memphis Grizzlies kicked off NBA trade season Monday by making a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. They swapped Jonas Valanciunas, the 17th pick and the 51st pick for Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the 10th pick and the 40th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, and it appears they’re not done dealing yet.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Eric Bledsoe is not expected to remain in Memphis, and according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Grizzlies are attempting to move up even higher in the draft than 10th.
The timing of the two reports suggests that they may be related. Bledsoe may be hard to move, though, thanks to the remaining two years and $37.5 million on his contract. Mind you, only $3.9 million of his $19.375 million 2022-23 salary is guaranteed, which could be a positive when it comes to moving him once again.
But still, finding a situation where even at this price point he’s a positive enough value to package with the 10th pick to move up inside the top 10 seems like a stretch.
He’s coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, averaging just 12.2 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds last year for the Pelicans on shooting splits of 42-34-69. And he’ll be 32 in December. Bledsoe simply isn’t a player that will provide much value to a receiving team in any trade, especially one of the nature that the Grizzlies are reportedly looking for.
Of course, this is the NBA, and for better or worse, anything is possible at any time. Just because there are no obvious or clear trade partners out there doesn’t mean something absurd can happen. But at a glance here an hour after the deal with the Pelicans, it’s hard to see how anything can come together in the way the Memphis Grizzlies are seeking just days before the NBA draft.