Jonas Valanciunas was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Memphis Grizzlies ahead of the trade deadline last Thursday in a deal that sent Marc Gasol to the Raptors, but Valanciunas’ transition to Memphis hasn’t been easy thus far.
The big man has not yet been cleared to join the Grizzlies, failing to go through practice with his new teammates on Monday due to the fact that he is still awaiting his post-trade immigration clearance, according to Grizzlies beat writer Michael Wallace.
The good news for Valanciunas is that the process is expected to be finalized either on Monday or at least before Tuesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Valanciunas has been sidelined since mid-December with a thumb injury, but he is expected to play immediately upon joining Memphis.
The 26-year-old spent the first six and a half years of his career in Toronto and was originally selected by the Raptors with the fifth overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.
He came over to the NBA for the 2012-13 campaign and played in 62 games during his rookie campaign, averaging 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds over 23.9 minutes per game while shooting 55.7 percent from the floor.
Since then, Valanciunas had become a very steady force in Toronto’s frontcourt, averaging in the neighborhood of 12 points and nine boards a night each year.
This season, Valanciunas had seen a decrease in playing time before his injury, playing in just 18.8 minutes per game, but he has still managed to register 12.7 points and 7.2 boards while making 57.5 percent of his field goal attempts.
Due to his defensive deficiencies, however, Valanciunas will likely never earn huge minutes again.