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Report: Jonas Valanciunas to decline option, become free agent

He plans on negotiating a long-term deal with Memphis

Memphis Grizzlies v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Jonas Valanciunas has made his decision about his $17.6 million player option for the 2019-2020 season...and it is somewhat surprising.

The reason this news is somewhat surprising is, despite his production for the Grizzlies, his market seems to be limited. He’s a bit of a dinosaur in terms of his game - he’s an excellent screen setter and rebounder, and scores the ball well in the paint and around the rim. But when it comes to the athleticism and versatility modern NBA rosters and organizations crave, he struggles. He’s a good rim protector, but not strong in defensive switchability. He’s a real threat in the pick and roll, but not in the pick and pop.

Jonas will almost certainly never again make more than $17.6 million in a year as an old school big man. He could be interested in a long-term deal with Memphis, but why not opt in and then talk extension like Zach Randolph did so long ago? A 3-year, $45 million deal for Jonas with that $17.6 million opt-in as the first year would mean about $13.5 million per the next two seasons, which lines up with the value of Jonas more than likely.

Now? If Jonas wants too much money, the Grizzlies can simply walk away and will have saved themselves a lot of cash potentially between the Jonas decision and whatever money they bring back in a Conley trade.

Valanciunas must be betting on a longer-term extension...and maybe Memphis is interested too.

The Grizzlies may indeed be intrigued by more years with Jonas. For the right price? That makes sense...

But time will tell on what that cost may wind up being.

Stick with GBB as the situation develops.

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