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Grizzlies let fourth-year-option deadline pass on Jarrett Culver

Jarrett Culver in Atlanta Hawks v Memphis Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 9: Jarrett Culver #23 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on during a preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks on October 9, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Grizzlies, between trades with the Timberwolves and Celtics, turned Patrick Beverley into a second-round pick, a $1,137,858 reduction in team salary and Jarrett Culver.

Does Memphis actually value Culver, the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, or was he just matching salary?

The latest clue came last night, when the Grizzlies let the deadline for exercising Culver’s fourth-year rookie-scale option pass without exercising it.

Memphis liked Culver enough to take a flier on him with a roster spot this season. But guaranteeing him $8,109,063 for next season? That was a no.

Culver is the highest-drafted player to have his fourth-year option declined since Josh Jackson (No. 4 pick in 2017). Originally drafted by the Suns, Jackson also had his option declined by Memphis.

Like Jackson, Culver – who’s now headed toward unrestricted free agency next summer – appears to be just passing through as the Grizzlies continue their slow build.