Ja Morant agrees to five-year, $193 million max extension
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant just became the highest paid player in Grizzlies history.
The 6-foot-3 guard signed a five-year, $193 million max extension Thursday evening, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal, which won’t become active until the start of 2023-24, could become worth $231 million if Morant makes any of the league’s three All-NBA teams next season.
The former No. 2 overall selection earned the NBA’s most improved player award and was named on the All-NBA second team last season. He averaged 27.4 points, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals, shooting 49.3 percent from the floor, 33.4 percent from the 3-point line and 76.1 percent from the free-throw line. His points, rebounds, steals, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage all marked career highs, as well as his player efficiency rating (24.4) and true-shooting percentage (57.5).
Here is what his agent, Jim Tanner of Tandem/YouFirst Sports, told ESPN.
“Over the past three seasons, Ja has truly emerged as an NBA superstar and must-see TV,” Tanner told ESPN. “From Rookie of the Year, to NBA All-Star starter, to All-NBA Second Team and Most Improved Player, we are incredibly proud of him for his dedication to improving his game and developing into a team leader. The Grizzlies are a perfect fit for Ja. The organization and the city have embraced him.Find the full quote at ESPN.com.
Morant helped lead the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, despite the team doing astoundingly well without him — notching a 21-7 record. That’s a testament to the organizational depth from the Grizzlies — spearheaded by Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks.
The Grizzlies fate came at the expense of a Morant injury, limiting him to three games in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, a series in which they lost in six games. Throughout the playoffs, however, he averaged 27.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, an NBA-most 9.,8 assists as well as 2.0 steals per game, shooting 44.0 percent with a 34.0 3-point percentage, 74.7 free-throw percentage and a 54.9 true-shooting percentage.
“The sky is the limit for Ja both on and off the court, and we look forward to helping him continue to build his legacy in the league,” Tanner added.Find the full quote at ESPN.com.
While not a surprise, this extension is still well-earned for Morant, who was originally eligible for restricted free agency after next season. Now, the 22-year-old will be grinding in Tennessee with one of the best young head coaches in the league in Taylor Jenkins and a loaded core that is one of the best in the NBA.
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This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.