Jonas Valanciunas Won’t Pick Up Player Option

Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas won’t opt into the final year of his contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that Valanciunas intends to turn down his 2019/20 player option. June 13 represented the deadline for the veteran big man to make his decision.

The player option would have paid Valanciunas a salary of $17,617,976 next season if it had been exercised, per Basketball Insiders. Instead, he’ll head to the open market on June 30 in search of a new contract, though his priority will be to negotiate a new deal with Memphis, says Wojnarowski.

According to Woj, new Grizzlies VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman and Valanciunas’ agent Leon Rose are set to work “aggressively” on finding a new agreement that works for both sides.

Valanciunas, 27, spent the first six and a half years of his NBA career in Toronto, but was sent to the Grizzlies in February in the deadline deal that saw the Raptors acquire Marc Gasol.

After putting up the best numbers of his career on a per-minutes basis through 30 games with the Raptors, Valanciunas continued that trend with the Grizzlies while taking on an expanded role. In 19 games (17 starts) down the stretch with his new team, he averaged a double-double (19.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG) with 2.2 APG and 1.6 BPG in just 27.7 minutes per contest.

Although Valanciunas has always been a strong interior scorer and rebounder, as last year’s numbers showed, he doesn’t have a ton of shooting range and isn’t an elite defender. As such, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to match his $17.6MM option salary on a new contract.

However, opting out and signing a new deal will allow Valanciunas to gain more long-term security. Even if his new annual salary doesn’t represent a raise, he certainly should be able to surpass $17.6MM in total value on his next contract. The Grizzlies will have his Bird rights, so they won’t face any restrictions in what they can offer him.

To keep tabs on all of this offseason’s player option decisions, be sure to check out our tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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16 thoughts on “Jonas Valanciunas Won’t Pick Up Player Option

  1. Theone23

    A little curious, $17.5 million and the playing time seemed to be there.

  2. Warriors should sign him or Brook Lopez for $5-10 million a year on a 2-3 year deal.

      • Playing time, can make more money on a long term contract. 3 year/30 million equates to 1o million a year. More money and job security.

        I just think that’s his value personally. I don’ think someone with his skill set in today’s NBA is worth more than that

        • ThePriceWasRight

          he’s likely getting something in the 3 year 40 million dollar range.

        • Luckylefty2

          So you really think he turned down 17 million to get 5? Doesn’t make sense. He would opt in and make that his next contract if that was the case.

        • Rewane

          He’s not getting more playing time with the Warriors, cuz their best lineup doesn’t have a center, plus they probably will have Looney and Jones for very cheap, too.
          3/30 is more money, but over a 3 year span it’s like he doesn’t believe he will get 2/12.4 after turning down the player option, which probably isn’t hard at all for him to get. He gotta aim for more than 3/30 to turn down the player option.

          • Luckylefty2

            That is what I am saying. Why would he turn down 17 mil in one season to make 15 million over 3 seasons lol. The center market is watered down but certain guys will always get paid the big bucks. Because you still need them to reach the playoffs.

            • I used 5 because MLE is $5.3. Realistically it’ll be at that 10-12mill a year. Which is not crazy whatsoever…

  3. Luckylefty2

    Smart man. If Dwight Powell is set to make 12-14 than I can definitely see him getting a 3/51 year type deal.

  4. reece

    Nothing wrong with wanting job security. If he opts in and plays well on a rebuilding Memphis team, they’d likely trade him again for assets. However, the market for bigmen is rough. Maybe Sacramento signs JV.

  5. These decisions are 99% about $$ (long or short term) not the team. Presumably, it was made in conjunction with an agent, who should have some idea of the market.

  6. david

    Lol he has made over 60 million in his career. Whats this job security talk haha. He prolly will settle for a snaller contract to try and win a ring

  7. Markeatonrules

    If Jonas can develop an outside shot (which definitely can happen at 27 years old) his new contract (most likely 3 years @$36 mil) will become a bargain.

  8. Stat

    3/45 sounds about right for him. He’s shown he can be solid when given an opportunity

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