The Memphis Grizzlies struck a major deal with the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday to jump up seven spots in the first-round of Thursday’s NBA Draft. But, the Western Conference franchise might not be done trying to leap up the board.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Grizzlies are interested in moving up in the first-round again after acquiring the 10th pick from the Pelicans in a trade on Monday. A handful of players have been mentioned as potential trade-up targets for Memphis, including Jonathan Kuminga, James Bouknight or Franz Wagner.
The Grizzlies picked up the No. 10 pick from the Pelicans as a part of a major deal on Monday that included sending the No. 17 pick, the No. 51 pick and Jonas Valanciunas to New Orleans. Memphis received Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the tenth overall pick, the No. 40 pick and a top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick via the Los Angeles Lakers in return.
Per a subsequent report from Chris Haynes, Bledsoe may be a part of a future deal to help the Grizzlies move up the first-round. The Yahoo Sports insider shared that the veteran point guard “is not expected” to remain in Memphis after Monday’s trade with the Pelicans.
Moving off of Bledsoe’s hefty contract would be wise for the Grizzlies and could be the key piece in getting a top-seven pick in this year’s stellar draft class. All that’s left to do for Memphis is to find a willing trade partner.
Sources: The Grizzlies are interested in moving up again after acquiring the 10th pick from the Pelicans.
Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight are potential targets for Memphis with another trade-up. Going live on @SpotifyGrnroom to discuss this and more about the 2021 NBA Draft:
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 26, 2021
Eric Bledsoe, who New Orleans included in a trade package, is not expected to stay in Memphis, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 26, 2021
Franz Wagner is also expected to be in play for Memphis at 10, sources say, but he could very well be off the board already as his range likely starts at 7 to Golden State, with significant interest at 8 (Orlando) and 9 (Sacramento). He's currently slated 9th in the ESPN mock. https://t.co/LQV9waj6RF
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 26, 2021
The Grizzlies aggression this week comes as no surprise as the franchise tries to position itself as a relevant Western Conference contender. Memphis went 38-34 last year and snuck into the postseason via the play-in tournament thanks to a young core built around Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks and other under-25 players.
Headed into next year, the Grizzlies appear ready to take another step forward. Adams will be a valuable big man to pair with Morant in pick-and-roll and a top-10 selection at Thursday’s draft should provide Memphis with another capable shot creator almost immediately.
The Grizzlies might be the first team to make an aggressive move this week ahead of the draft, but they surely won’t be the last. Stay tuned for additional coverage of the NBA over the next couple days.