JULY 11: Jones’ contract with the Grizzlies is now official, per a press release from the team.
JULY 9: The Timberwolves have opted not to match Tyus Jones‘ three-year offer sheet with the Grizzlies, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The decision, which was due by midnight eastern time, will pave the way for the restricted free agent to finalize his deal with Memphis and become the newest member of the Grizzlies’ backcourt.
Gersson Rosas, the Wolves’ new president of basketball operations, has issued a statement confirming that the Wolves will let Jones join the Grizzlies, as Darren Wolfson of SKOR North relays (via Twitter).
“We sincerely thank Tyus for his contributions on the court and Tyus and the entire Jones family for their genuine impact on the Twin Cities community,” Rosas said. “We wish them nothing but the best in Memphis.”
Jones became the first restricted free agent of the 2019 offseason to sign an offer sheet on Sunday. It’s the second consecutive year that the Grizzlies have used their mid-level exception to poach an RFA from a Western Conference rival — they did so with Spurs forward Kyle Anderson a year ago.
Jones, 23, averaged 6.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG last year in 68 games (22.9 MPG) for Minnesota. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, he’s a solid defender who grades out well analytically. He’ll join a Grizzlies point guard rotation that figures to feature a heavy dose of No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant, along with newly-acquired youngster De’Anthony Melton. Memphis sent longtime point guard Mike Conley to Utah and signed-and-traded Delon Wright to Dallas earlier this offseason.
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Jones’ three-year deal has a first-year base value of $8.4MM with $850K in likely bonuses. It has a descending structure but can be worth close to $27MM in total. The former Duke Blue Devil told Sean Deveney this week that he’s “excited” to join the Grizzlies, and hopes to help establish a winning culture in Memphis (Twitter link).
As Marks notes, the Timberwolves – having just claimed Tyrone Wallace on waivers – would have been slightly over the tax line if they had matched Jones’ offer sheet. Additionally, the Wolves are pursuing maximum-salary cap room in 2020 and adding Jones’ multiyear deal to their books would’ve complicated that goal, tweets Wojnarowski.
With Jones and departed free agent Derrick Rose out of the picture, Minnesota has Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier, and Wallace in the mix at point guard. The team may continue to explore its options to fortify the position.
Now that Jones is off the board, only one restricted free agent – Kelly Oubre of the Suns – remains on the market.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.