Jonas Valanciunas will reportedly turn down his player option for next season to sign a long-term deal with the Grizzlies.
Jonas Valanciunas would’ve made $17.6 million next season if we would have opted-in to his player option, but instead, he is looking for a contract that will keep him in Memphis for years to come.
Valanciunas was a part of the trade with the Raptors that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto. Valanciunas averaged 15.6 points and 8.9 rebounds this season but averaged a double-double in his short time with Memphis this past season.
Valanciunas must have been pleased with Taylor Jenkins becoming the next head coach of the Grizzlies. He previously said the new hire would make a significant impact on his decision to stay in Memphis.
This doesn’t guarantee that he will be staying in Memphis, though. He still opted-out of his contract so if he doesn’t think the money is right or whatever the stipulations may be he is free to go somewhere else.
One of the Grizzlies biggest weaknesses last season was rebounding, and that is Valanciunas’ biggest strength so he could be a huge asset for the Grizzlies. He could also be the veteran presence needed in a younger locker room.
The Grizzlies are 100% rebuilding, and a successful rebuild requires a veteran player to help guide the young guys in the right direction.
Valanciunas could be the key to rebuilding the Grizzlies and getting them back to the playoffs and ultimately reaching the NBA Finals. He is big, physical and although he wasn’t a part of the “Grit-‘N’-Grind” era, he resembles what the Grizzlies were during that time.
This also has to be pleasing for Jenkins, knowing he has gotten the approval of Valanciunas and wants to stay in Memphis for a few more years. The entire locker room must be happy with the hire if Valanciunas is wanting to stay in Memphis for multiple years.
Jenkins has the keys to success by taking what he learned from Gregg Popovich and Mike Budenholzer. Jenkins is going to piece together both of their offenses and schemes and craft what he hopes to be the perfect offense.
Things already seem promising for the Grizzlies and Jenkins seems to be winning over the team so far. The first step of this long rebuild has to be resigning Valanciunas to a long-term deal and making the veteran happy.