Eric Bledsoe Trade Rumors: Grizzlies, Pelicans Talked Deal Involving NBA Draft Picks

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 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

The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly so determined to trade Eric Bledsoe that they'll move back in the draft to get it done. 

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported the Pelicans "have generated traction" in talks that would see them send Bledsoe and the No. 10 pick in Thursday's draft to Memphis in exchange for the No. 17 selection. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium confirmed the talks, saying the Grizzlies have explored moving up in the draft.

It's a trade that, frankly, would not make a great amount of sense for either side. 

The Grizzlies have cap flexibility coming into this summer, but that's not going to last very long. Jaren Jackson Jr. is due for an extension that will kick in next offseason, and Ja Morant's deal will come a year after. While the contracts of Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson come off the books in 2022, those are two very solid role players the Grizzlies may want to retain.

Adding Bledsoe essentially strips the Grizzlies of their financial flexibility this offseason, in what could be their final window of flexibility for the foreseeable future.

Memphis would be better served taking a page out of the Atlanta Hawks' book and spend free agency focusing on impact veterans who can improve the roster for a deeper playoff run.

The Pelicans trading Bledsoe and moving back in the draft would feel like an incredibly desperate maneuver. Only $3.9 million of Bledsoe's 2022-23 salary is guaranteed. New Orleans could eat that money for next season and not have to trade out of the lottery to make it happen.

The Pelicans aren't a team that's a player away from championship contention, and it's hard to fathom how moving back seven spots helps their future or their present.