Sources: Valanciunas declines $17.6M option

Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas is declining the $17.6M player option on his 2019-20 contract, clearing the way to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told ESPN.

Valanciunas' primary intention will be to negotiate a new longer-term deal with the Grizzlies, league sources said. In the post Marc Gasol-era, Valanciunas remains the franchise's focus to continue as its starting center.

Memphis VP of Basketball Operations Zach Kleiman and Valanciunas' agent, Leon Rose of CAA, are expected to work aggressively on finding the pathway to a new deal, sources said.

Valanciunas, 27, had the most productive stretch of his career with the Grizzlies after getting traded from Toronto in February -- averaging 19.9 points and 10.7 rebounds in 19 games.

Valanciunas, who'll be starting his eighth NBA season, has averaged 11.8 points and 8.4 rebounds a game in his career.