Pelicans Could Acquire Jonas Valanciunas For Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams & Draft Picks In Proposed Blockbuster

Jonas Valanciunas shows a three-point sign after shooting the ball
Gettyimages | Steph Chambers
Basketball

The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the young teams that are expected to be active on the trade market in the 2021 offseason. With the improvements shown by Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, most people believe that the Pelicans would make moves that could give them a realistic chance of winning the franchise's first NBA title in the 2021-22 season.

One of the most intriguing trade targets for the Pelicans this summer is veteran center Jonas Valanciunas of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Proposed Jonas Valanciunas-To-Pelicans Trade

Jonas Valanciunas finding an open teammate
Gettyimages | Brett Carlsen

In a recent article, Brett Siegel of NBA Analysis Network came up with a blockbuster trade idea that would enable the Pelicans to acquire Valanciunas from the Grizzlies in the 2021 offseason. The Grizzlies may not have shown any indication that they are planning to move Valanciunas this summer but if they decide to trade him, the Pelicans should find a way to bring him to New Orleans.

In the proposed trade scenario by Siegel, the Pelicans would send a trade package that includes Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Grizzlies in exchange for Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson.

Pelicans Add A Double-Double Machine

Jonas Valanciunas trying to score against Dwight Howard
Gettyimages | Harry How

Though it would cost them two future draft assets, swapping Adams for Valanciunas would make a lot of sense for the Pelicans. Valanciunas provides the Pelicans with a major upgrade at the starting center position and brings a significant improvement on both ends of the floor. He would give them a reliable scoring option under the basket, a monster rebounder, rim protector, and floor-spacer.

This season, he's averaging 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 59.2 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

Kyle Anderson Serves As Pelicans' Sixth Man

Kyle Anderson aiming to pass the ball
Gettyimages | Mike Ehrmann

Aside from Valanciunas, the Pelicans would also receive Anderson in the proposed trade deal. Anderson isn't just included in the deal for salary-matching purposes. As Siegel noted, he could efficiently serve the role as the Pelicans' "sixth man" in the 2021-22 NBA season.

"With Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson commanding the forward positions for the Pelicans, Kyle Anderson would likely move to a 'Sixth Man' role with the Pelicans, a role that he could thrive in given his tendencies. Not only is he a threat to score with the ball in his hands, but Anderson is a really solid overall talent, being able to rebound, pass and be a reliable perimeter defender on the wing."

Proposed Trade Deal Helps Pelicans Create Salary Cap Space

In the suggested deal, the Pelicans wouldn't only be adding two quality players on their roster, but it would also help them free a huge chunk of their salary cap space in the 2021 offseason. By sending Bledsoe and his lucrative contract to Memphis, the Pelicans would no longer have any problem in re-signing restricted free agent Lonzo Ball, who is expected to demand a contract that would pay him $20 million per year this summer.

With Bledsoe gone, the Pelicans could give more playing time to young guards such as Kira Lewis Jr. and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.