Despite an ugly exit from Portland and a similar departure from Memphis in the offing, Bonzi Wells still finds himself in hot demand, writes the Commercia Appeal’s Ronald Tillery.

The Grizzlies plan to trade Wells immediately should they pick up the option. If not, the team will seek a sign-and-trade deal involving the veteran guard.

Such a delay could hurt Wells (above, center) in the free-agent market because teams are allowed to negotiate free-agent deals. Wells would become an unrestricted free agent if the Grizzlies pass on the option but his options will have dwindled because several teams already have committed their mid-level exception and cap dollars.

It is believed that Sacramento and the Los Angels Clippers have emerged as the strongest of at least seven suitors for Wells.

The 29-year-old Wells is considered the best guard available now that Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Bobby Simmons, Larry Hughes and Cuttino Mobley have agreed in principle to sign new deals.

“We’re obviously still interested in him if he’s interested in us,” Sacramento executive Geoff Petrie told the Sacramento Bee. “It remains to be seen.”

The Grizzles also have had more than cursory conversations with Boston, Dallas, Washington, Detroit and Utah.

(UPDATE : Kings get Bonzi, Bobby Jackson to Memphis and Greg Ostertag to Utah. Because Utah — the state, never mind the team — just wasn’t the same without him.)