Grizzlies Center Jonas Valanciunas to Decline 2019-20 Option

Valančiūnas with the Raptors in 2018. Image by Keith Allison/Wikipedia

News broke on Thursday that Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas is due to decline his 2019-20 player option worth $17.6 million.

Valanciunas, who was traded to Memphis from Toronto in February in a deal that sent Marc Gasol to the Raptors, had a very strong debut in Tennessee after the trade was completed.

He averaged a double-double with 19.9 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game after switching teams mid-season. This greatly outpaced his output with Toronto on the season. The Lithuanian big man averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on the season.

After declining the $17.6 million option, Valanciunas will become a free agent. He will have the ability to test the waters as a free agent for the first time in his career. Before being traded to Memphis, the 27-year-old had spent the first 6.5 seasons of his career with the Raptors.

While Valanciunas will have the ability to sign with any team that he’d like after declining the option, reports suggest that his preference is to stay in Memphis. The Grizzlies were happy with his performance, and he would clearly be the focal point of Memphis’ roster if he is to stay there.

Now, Memphis must attempt to put together a contract offer to satisfy Valanciunas’s desires.