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Losing Adams in trade to Rockets will be 'tough,' Grizzlies' Jackson says

UPI

Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Center Jaren Jackson Jr. cited Steven Adams' physicality and off-the-court rapport with teammates while saying his recent trade to the Houston Rockets will be "tough" on the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Rockets announced the swap Thursday night. The Grizzlies will receive veteran guard Victor Oladipo and three draft picks in exchange for the veteran big man.

News of the trade broke just before the Grizzlies tipped off a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They lost that contest 108-101 at FedExForum in Memphis.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins did not comment on the trade at his postgame news conference, but Jackson spoke about the 6-foot-11 center's impact on his career and in the locker room.

"He's just a physical specimen they have to deal with," Jackson told reporters. "Everybody's focused on him. Last year everyone was focused on him a lot, so it allowed me to catch people off guard.

"He helped me in so many ways. Off the court, everybody loved him."

Adams, 30, averaged 8.6 points and a career-high 11.5 rebounds per game last season for the Grizzlies. He missed the first 48 games of this season because of a right knee surgery and is expected to return in 2024-25.

Adams and Jackson became teammates in 2021, when the Grizzlies acquired Adams in a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.

"I don't know," Jackson said, when asked about his reaction to losing Adams. "It's tough, man. It's tough."

Adams entered the league as the No. 12 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He spent his first seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, among others. He is under contract through next season.

The Grizzlies (18-30) are one of the worst teams in the Western Conference so far this season after losing star guard Ja Morant to a season-ending shoulder injury.

They will receive a second-round pick and a condition second-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft in the trade with the Rockets. They will also receive a second-round pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.

By trading Adams, the Grizzlies unloaded more than $12 million in guaranteed salary from their 2024-25 payroll. Oladipo, who is still recovering from a knee injury from last season, will be a free agent this off-season.

The Grizzlies will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the Golden State Warriors (20-24) at 8 p.m. EST Friday in Memphis.

The Rockets (22-25) will battle the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m. Sunday in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves (34-14) own the best record in the Western Conference.