Just hours prior to the opening of NBA Free Agency, rumor has the Memphis Grizzlies and Jonas Valanciunas remaining together for future seasons.
It did not take long for the Memphis Grizzlies to pop up in NBA Free Agency rumors. In fact, the Grizzlies popped into headlines exactly four hours until the official opening of the NBA’s moratorium period. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Memphis will verbally agree to a new contract with center Jonas Valanciunas shortly after 6:00 PM this evening.
Assuming this rumored commitment does in fact take place and Valanciunas officially inks the three-year, $45 million deal with the Grizzlies, fans should be positive about the news. Jonas would be taking a slight pay cut as he had the opportunity to opt in to the final year of his previous contract for an amount of $17.6 million.
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This would give Memphis a small amount of breathing room for the upcoming season’s salary cap situation, but more importantly, it does not destroy their cap space in future seasons. Plus, this three-year deal may come loaded with a team or player option on the third year, which would be for the 2021-22 NBA season. In that particular season, Jaren Jackson Jr. would be entering his fourth year and Ja Morant would be headed for his third.
Valanciunas will enable the Grizzlies to be more of a competitor in the Western Conference in the upcoming season. While his presence does not guarantee Memphis of a playoff spot, the Grizzlies certainly could have an outside chance as a surprise team to sneak into the eighth and final spot. With this veteran double-double machine nearing a return, fans will have a greater product to watch on the court in what should be an exciting, yet trying, season with the youth movement in full effect.
Memphis could do much worse on a new contract with Valanciunas. This is market value for Jonas, and it is not overpaying for his services. They are on their way to securing a rebounding force and a post presence for the next few years while Jackson Jr. and others earn their stripes on Beale Street.
While the Grizzlies could have certainly taken to the open market on some new faces at the center position, Jonas already has 19 games under his belt as a member of the team. Chemistry is already built with a number of guys who are expected to be on the roster for the 2019-20 season. That is a major benefit over the alternative of blindly choosing another candidate off the market, which is something the old Front Office probably would have done.