Thoughts on the Jonas Valanciunas Deal (7/26/21)

Raptors rumors: Could Jonas Valanciunas return to Toronto?

It is now officially the NBA offseason.

Not having NBA basketball for a few months is sad, but the offseason is still fun. There is a ton of player movement to keep the offseason exciting.

That being said, the first trade of the offseason (Kemba trade excluded because the playoffs were still going on) happened today. The trade looked like this:

New Orleans Pelicans get: Jonas Valanciunas, Pick 17, Pick 51

Memphis Grizzlies get: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Pick 10, Pick 40, 2022 1st Round Pick

There’s no All-Stars involved in this trade, but these aren’t nobodies. Jonas Valanciunas, Steven Adams, and Eric Bledsoe are all good NBA players. 

Let’s talk about this trade for each team. 

New Orleans Pelicans

This is a big move for the Pelicans for multiple reasons. Obviously, the main thing is getting Jonas Valanciunas. JV is a significant upgrade from Steven Adams. In fact (this may be a stupid take), I’d rather have JV on my team than both Adams and Bledsoe. So that’s something. 

What makes the player upgrade even more significant is that New Orleans just freed up 21 million dollars. JV makes 14 mil next year, while Bledsoe and Adams make 35 combined. That’s huge. 

Of course, the downgrade in this trade comes with the draft picks. Dropping from 10th to 17th is a large drop. However, I think the player swap favors New Orleans enough where the drop is no big deal. There are definitely good players available at the 17th pick.

So, overall, this was a good move for the Pelicans. I already knew they wanted to compete, and this trade is a win-now move. They got a better player while dumping lots of salary. This is a win for New Orleans.

Grade: A-

Memphis Grizzlies

I understand why Memphis did this trade. Adding the 10th pick to their collection of young talent is a great thing. The problem I have with this deal for Memphis is the money. They had money freed up to spend this offseason, and now they don’t. There isn’t a crazy talented free agency class this offseason, but having money freed up is still a luxury. That money is now gone, and it’s tied up in Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe. That kinda stinks. 

Even though going from JV to Steven Adams is a decrease, Steven Adams can still be good for Memphis. He’s your typical rebounding, shot blocking, and lob catching center. One interesting thing about Adams is that he is supposedly serious about adding a three point shot to his game. IF he actually does that, that would be significant. If he can’t, oh well. 

I’m curious to see if Memphis keeps Bledsoe or flips him. Keep is probably the answer, cause I doubt there’s a huge market for Bled right now. 

All in all, this is only a positive trade for Memphis because they got the 10th pick. Otherwise, not so great. 

Grade: B

Those are my thoughts on the Jonas Valanciunas trade! Do you agree with my grades, or disagree? What do you think about the trade? Let me know on Twitter (@thebenchmobblog)! See you next time!

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