After previously declining a player option worth $17.6 million, Jonas Valanciunas has agreed to a deal that will keep him in Memphis for three more years.
Valanciunas was a part of the February trade with Toronto that sent Marc Gasol up north and to his eventual NBA title. Jonas averaged nearly 20 and 10 in his abbreviated season with the Grizzlies. We didn’t get to see him much with many of the players that he will be on the court with going forward, but in his short time he did impress.
Keeping Valanciunas in Memphis will allow Jaren Jackson Jr. to continue stretching his game, both figuratively and literally. The second year player will get more opportunities to operate from the wings, where he has an advantage with his length and shooting ability.
According to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian, Valanciunas’ annual salary will decrease by year to the tune of $16.1, $15, and $13.9.
Overall, this appears to be a solid deal for both parties. JV will get a fair contract and with the structure, the Grizzlies will have increased cap space in the final two years after (yes, it will finally happen) Chandler Parsons’ painful contract comes off the books. There is no guarantee that Memphis will be able to sign a marquee free agent with that money, but they can certainly be a home for some salary dumps in return for the appropriate assets.
I especially like that the contract is for three years and not four. Jonas is 27 years old now so the Grizzlies will have him on their roster while he is in his prime.
This deal certainly helps to validate the Marc Gasol trade, as the Grizzlies will be able to reap the benefits of the next generation of grizzled center beyond a sole — very lost — season.
Zak (@BarnBurnerBro) is a native Memphian who covers the Memphis Grizzlies, Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals for The Barn. He spends his free time exploring breweries, restaurants, and leading the Ivan Rabb stan club.