Steven Adams Trade to Pelicans Reportedly Being Finalized with Thunder

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 21, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams , left, goes up to dunk over Houston Rockets' Robert Covington during the first half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans are finalizing a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire center Steven Adams, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Those talks could be part of a larger four-team deal off the Milwaukee Bucks' recent acquisition of ex-Pels guard Jrue Holiday, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted:

"New Orleans and Milwaukee are expanding the original Jrue Holiday trade to include more teams and players, including the routing of Steven Adams to the Pelicans, sources tell ESPN."

"Talks are moving toward a possible four-team trade. Deal has a lot of moving parts and still has work to finish, per sources," Wojnarowski concluded.

Wojnarowski also reported that as part of the trade, the Thunder will receive guards George Hill and Darius Miller, as well as the Denver Nuggets' 2023 protected first-round pick, the Charlotte Hornets' 2023 second-round pick and the Washington Wizards' 2024 second-round pick.

Adams, 27, averaged 10.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 63 games for the 44-28 Thunder, who earned the Western Conference's fifth playoff seed in 2020 despite a significant offseason overhaul that saw the departures of All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

The Thunder selected Adams out of Pittsburgh with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and he's been the team's starting center for the past six seasons.

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Adams just finished the third year of a four-season, $100 million contract. He is owed $27.5 million in 2020-21.

The big man isn't going to stretch the floor offensively: Basketball-Reference has credited him with just 44 shot attempts over 10 feet this season. However, he can shoot the occasional one-handed push shot from within 10 feet, so he's not necessarily glued to the rim.

In addition, numerous NBA players have noted his remarkable strength, per ESPN's Royce Young.

"That motherf--ker is strong. Like, I'm serious," Miami Heat guard/forward Jimmy Butler (then of the Minnesota Timberwolves) said during the 2017-18 campaign. "He hit me with one screen and I thought my life was over. He's from Krypton or something."

Oklahoma City's loss is the Pelicans' gain, as New Orleans will be getting a tough, hard-nosed player willing to do the dirty work down low on a nightly basis.

On the opposite end, OKC's massive roster rebuild under general manager Sam Presti continues.

Point guard Chris Paul is now a Phoenix Sun, Dennis Schroder is a Los Angeles Laker and Danilo Gallinari's agent told Wojnarowski he has left as a free agent to join the Atlanta Hawks. Now Adams appears on his way out of town.

That means four of OKC's top five scorers from last year's team will no longer be with the Thunder, with guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander standing as the lone exception.

The Thunder have received massive draft hauls in return, though, and own no fewer than two first-round draft picks each year from 2021 to 2026, per ESPN.