The Minnesota Timberwolves are declining to match the Memphis Grizzlies’ three-year, $28M offer sheet for restricted free agent guard Tyus Jones, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 10, 2019
The newest member of the Memphis Grizzlies is point guard Tyus Jones, as the Minnesota Timberwolves decided not to match the Grizzlies three-year, $28M offer to the restricted free agent. Jones essentially takes over the main second ball-handler and backup point guard role many thought Delon Wright would fill. However, as they have done all offseason, the Grizzlies’ front office was able to extract extra value from a situation through creativity.
Many, including myself, would have been perfectly fine committing to Wright for the three years and $29M that he will receive in Dallas. However, gaining two second round picks from Dallas in exchange for Wright and signing a player who makes a similar overall impact on the game in Jones makes it easy to understand why Memphis decided to let Wright leave. This is especially true with the fact Jones is four years younger and has shown the ability to be highly effective in a reserve guard role.
Beyond debating Wright versus Jones, two other clear points are made with this move. First, it seems that Memphis is going to put a priority on competition when it comes to its point guard position. Many thought the Grizzlies might go with a veteran point guard who can help mentor Ja Morant, especially if they did not retain Wright. However, they instead went with potential and a talent that could continue to develop into a significant back court presence.
Jones likely knows that the Grizzlies see Morant as the future of the position, but Jones also knows he has plenty of opportunity to play significant minutes and make an impact for a rebuilding team. If Morant were to struggle early in his career, Jones has the ability to start and produce at a level he likely would not have seen in Minnesota. Typically, competition brings about development, and that is exactly what the Grizzlies are hoping will occur for both Jones and Morant.
The second point made clear by this move is the importance the Grizzlies are putting on depth when it comes to its point guards. In exchanging Jevon Carter and Delon Wright for De’Anthony Melton and Tyus Jones, along with Morant, the Grizzlies have placed a heavy emphasis on playing all 48 minutes of each game with a true facilitator at the helm.
This makes sense because the Grizzlies are confident they can quickly turn the significant potential of Morant, Jones. and Melton into production. If the Grizzlies can have multiple sources on their roster that can create opportunities for other offensive pieces, it will improve the effectiveness and consistency of the offense as a whole.
Another byproduct of this move is with both Jones and Morant being a bit undersized, the Grizzlies can rotate both to make sure neither is playing too many minutes. This will lower the chance of injury for both players, and will keep them fresh as the season goes along.
These are just a few of the many positives that a talent like Jones potentially brings to a Grizzlies’ franchise that continues to make its future look brighter. In a league that continues to see the importance of multiple ball-handlers and facilitators grow, the Grizzlies have positioned themselves quite well with Jones, Morant, and Melton for the foreseeable future.