Pelicans Trade Rumors: Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams Could Be Dealt This Offseason

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 19, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) drives with the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
AP Photo/Derick Hingle

After a disastrous 2020-21 NBA season, the New Orleans Pelicans could look to unload veterans Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams, according to William Guillory and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.

"Sources say there’s an expectation that at least one of them will be on the move this offseason," the report stated.

Bledsoe and Adams were each brought in last offseason to add experience and depth to a young roster looking to take the next step toward contention. The squad instead struggled to a 31-41 record while missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.  

The additions of Bledsoe and Adams didn't help New Orleans shore up its defense last season. The Pelicans finished 23rd in the NBA in defensive efficiency

Offensively, Bledsoe averaged only 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game, both of which were his lowest marks since 2012-13. Adams' 7.6 points per game were his fewest since his rookie year in 2013-14.

The two veterans have two of the three highest cap figures on the team heading into 2021-22, per Spotrac. Only Brandon Ingram ($29.5 million) will make more than Bledsoe ($18.1 million) and Adams ($17.1 million) next year.

The Pelicans seemingly prefer to move forward with their young core, which features Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and more. However, they may struggle to find a trade partner for their underperforming veterans.

Vecenie went so far as to wonder whether the Pelicans would waive and stretch Bledsoe to open up cap space.