SportNBA free agency rumors: Grizzlies' Jonas Valanciunas to decline option
NBA trade rumors: Celtics, two other teams could target Mike Conley deal
Conley is expected to be a trade candidate again this summer as the Grizzlies look to rebuild around their young talent. It's been reported the Grizzlies plan to select guard Ja Morant out of Murray State with the second pick of the NBA draft, which is a major sign that Conley's 12-plus years with the Grizzlies could end soon. Memphis does also have the option to keep Conley and play the two together in the backcourt until a suitable deal is found, allowing rookie Morant to gain confidence and experience under veteran Conley.
Memphis center Jonas Valanciunas will decline the option year of his contract to become a free agent,reported Thursday.
However, the 7-foot Lithuanian player is declining the $17.6 million option so that he can negotiate a new contract with the Grizzlies, according to the report. If he does opt out, he can't sign a new deal until the free agency period opens in early July.
The move comes with some risks for Valanciunas. Thenotes that opting out of his deal and signing an extension would "likely mean a reduced salary next season." And if he can't work out a new deal, it's unclear how much interest the 27-year-old would draw in free agency, given his role as a "traditional" center.
NBA free agency rumors: Kings prioritizing center, but unlikely to pursue Nikola Vucevic
The Kings “have placed an emphasis on improving the center position” this summer, according to a report from NBC Sports Bay Area.
Valanciunas thrived with the Grizzlies in 19 games last season after being acquired from the Raptors, averaging 19.9 points and 10.7 points per game, well above his career averages of 11.8 ppg and 8.4 rpg in his seven seasons with Toronto.
Yet new Grizzlies hcoach Taylor Jenkins is looking to open up the offense with more 3-point shooting, which would seem to limit the role of Valanciunas, who has attempted 0.3 3-pointers per game in his career.
NBA free agency rumors: Derrick Favors will have ‘a robust market’ if Jazz don’t pick up his option.
Favors’ $16.9 million contract for 2019-20 becomes guaranteed with the Jazz on July 6.
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