On Monday afternoon, the Pelicans and Grizzlies were involved in what will likely be one of many trades to be made this NBA offseason. New Orleans was able to move the contracts of Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams at the expense of the No. 10 and No. 40 picks in this year’s draft, as well as a protected first-round pick next year from the Lakers, to Memphis in exchange for center Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 17 and No. 51 picks in this year’s draft.
Now, with a Top-10 pick and the possibility of moving Eric Bledsoe again, there are a lot of possibilities for the Memphis Grizzlies, but the focal point of this trade revolves around the New Orleans Pelicans. By moving Bledsoe and Adams for Valanciunas, New Orleans not only opened up $21.16M in cap space, but they now have the ability to make some noise in free agency.
The Pelicans now have roughly $38.75M in cap space to play around with once this trade is official and while they could look to bring back both Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, they likely will not look to do so before going after some of the better free agents available on the market.
New Orleans wants to win now with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, which is why they will likely look to target Kyle Lowry, one of the bigger names available this offseason.
Lowry is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and Marc Stein of The New York Times reported last week that the Pelicans had “entered the race” to pursue the 6x All-Star guard, but they needed available cap space to do so. Now, with Bledsoe and Adams off their roster, the Pelicans have the money they need to aggressively pursue Lowry without having to do a sign-and-trade for him.