The New Orleans Pelicans have traded the No. 53 draft pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for $2 million in cash considerations, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports. The deal now gives the Sixers three selections in Thursday night's draft (No. 28, No. 50 and No. 53) and brings the Pelicans draft stock to four picks from five.
The Pelicans have been busy leading up to the draft, trading Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe and picks No. 10 and 40 to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas and draft picks No. 17 and 51. That move signaled that New Orleans is positioning itself to make moves in free agency by getting off the contracts of Adams and Bledsoe. By freeing up that cap space, it allows the Pelicans to try an match any offer sheet guard Lonzo Ball gets from other teams around the league as a restricted free agent, or go at Kyle Lowry hard to bring him to New Orleans.
For Philadelphia, although this is a minor move, all eyes will be on if a Ben Simmons trade is executed, which is looking increasingly likely. The Miami Heat, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors are all reportedly interested in the All-Star guard, and perhaps grabbing more draft picks would help sweeten the deal to get someone like a Bradley Beal from the Wizards. We'll have to wait and see what else the Sixers do leading up to and during the draft to see how this move factors in to their offseason plans.
The NBA Draft starts at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.