Blazers Trade Guard Jerryd Bayless To Hornets For Future First Round Draft Pick

via assets.sbnation.com

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports on Twitter that the Portland Trail Blazers have traded guard Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets for a future first-round draft pick.

Blazers reach agreement on trade to send G Jerryd Bayless to New Orleans for future first-round pick. Link on way    

Here's a link to his ESPN.com story.

The Portland Trail Blazers have found a trade to create some extra roster room, agreeing Saturday to deal guard Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets for a conditional future first-round pick, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources with knowledge of the deal told ESPN.com that Bayless -- who has struggled for playing time in Portland despite flashes of scoring talent in his first two NBA seasons -- is headed to Chris Paul's squad in the second trade swung for backcourt depth by new Hornets general manager Dell Demps.

The move reduces Portland's roster to 16 players and, if the Blazers do release injured big man Jeff Pendergraph as expected, would mean that Australian guard Patty Mills could make the final 15 man roster. However, the Blazers could also choose to waive Mills, avoid guaranteeing his contract and carry just 14 players into the season.

As I wrote Thursday night, Bayless struggled throughout the preseason and never seemed to find a defined role in Portland's backcourt this season. With a strong preseason from rookie guard Armon Johnson and the potential of rookie combo guard Elliot Williams, Bayless's foul-drawing and point-scoring abilties became mostly redundant on draft night.

Nevertheless, it's a sad, abrupt end to the Jerryd Bayless era in Portland, which began with tons of promise. Bayless was acquired by the Blazers during the 2008 draft lottery and, unfortunately, the highlight of his career so far has been winning MVP of the 2008 summer league. He will also, of course, endure in Portland for The Bayless Face.

Update (5:51 PM): 

Sources tell Blazersedge the trade has been approved by the league office minutes ago, so it's official. The pick Portland is set to receive is top-7 protected in 2011 and top-8 protected in 2012, 2013 and 2014. After that, it would turn into two second-round picks in 2015 and 2016.

Sources tell Blazersedge that the Blazers also receive a trade exception worth roughly $2.3 million by sending out Bayless's salary without receiving any salary in return. Because the Blazers are currently luxury tax payers, the move therefore saves the team roughly $4.6 million.

It's fair to conclude that the impetus for this trade for the Blazers was increasing flexibility both short and long term, thanks to the extra roster spot, a potentially valuable draft pick and the trade exception. More minutes have been opened up for recently-acquired guard Wesley Matthews and the backup point guard road is now open for rookie Armon Johnson. 

For Bayless, he gets a fresh start in New Orleans, where he can either play off the ball alongside all star point guard Chris Paul or behind him in a reserve point guard role. He rejoins Hornets head coach Monty Williams, who was an assistant during Bayless's first two years in Portland.

Update (6:05 PM):

Here's the official press release.

TRAIL BLAZERS ACQUIRE FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK FROM NEW ORLEANS

Portland sends guard Jerryd Bayless to Hornets

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired a conditional, future first round draft pick from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Jerryd Bayless, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

"On behalf of the Trail Blazers organization, I want to thank Jerryd Bayless for his service to the team and wish him all the best for the future," said Rich Cho.

Acquired by the Trail Blazers in a draft day trade, Bayless was originally selected by Indiana with the 11th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Arizona product and third-year pro has career averages of 6.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 127 games (11 starts).

"This trade gives us a valuable asset that will provide us flexibility and a number of options to improve the team going forward," added Cho.    

And here's Bayless's reaction on Twitter.

A Fresh Start...less than a minute ago via web

 

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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