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Three-team trade done, Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte’ Graham officially join Pelicans

New Orleans also nets valuable traded player exception (TPE)

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans officially completed their trades for Jonas Valanciunas, Trey Murphy III (17th pick of the 2021 NBA Draft) and Devonte’ Graham on Saturday morning in a single transaction with the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets.

Per a New Orleans press release,

The Pelicans have acquired center Jonas Valančiūnas and the draft rights to 2021 first round pick Trey Murphy III (17th overall) and 2021 second round pick Brandon Boston (51stoverall) from the Grizzlies. In exchange, New Orleans has conveyed center Steven Adams, guard Eric Bledsoe, the draft rights to 2021 first round pick Ziaire Williams (10th overall) and 2021 second round pick Jared Butler (40thoverall), and a protected 2022 first round pick to Memphis. Additionally, the Pelicans have acquired guard Devonte’ Graham from the Hornets in exchange for forward Wes Iwundu, a future protected first round draft pick and cash considerations. As part of the three-team deal, Memphis has traded the draft rights to Tyler Harvey, the 51st overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Brandon Boston (the 51st pick in the 2021 NBA Draft) is headed to the Los Angeles Clippers in a separate deal for a protected 2022 second-round draft pick (via Sacramento Kings) and cash considerations. Likely, the protections on this draft pick will prevent it from ever conveying to New Orleans.

The two biggest takeaways from this completed deal is that the Pelicans should be expected to operate as an over-the-cap team (so MLE and BAE are available) for the upcoming season and they also acquired a valuable traded player exception (TPE) in excess of $17 million, likely the amount of Steven Adams’ salary for 2021-22 in full.

Keep this TPE in the back of your minds because New Orleans now has one year to absorb a player(s) onto the books with this tool, worth up to $17,173,171 (Adams’ $17,073,171 + 100K), without needing to send salary back. For instance, it could be used before free agency is out, in the days leading up to the next trade deadline or next summer before August 7, 2022.

“As we entered this offseason, we were intently focused upon improving our shooting, leadership and the overall fit of our roster,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “The players that are joining us today speak directly to those areas of concern. More importantly, their strength of character as men, and teammates that are eager to be part of our larger Pelicans family will be critical as we continue building towards sustainable success.”

Following the announcement of this three-team deal, the Pelicans have 13 players on the roster, with Wenyen Gabriel’s contract unguaranteed.

The Lonzo Ball trade with the Chicago Bulls, that will add Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple to the Pelicans roster, remains uncompleted.

Josh Hart is still a restricted free agent, who can be re-signed by the Pelicans, involved in a sign-and-trade or signed to an offer sheet by another team, with the Pelicans having the right to match.

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