Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Expectations, JJJ, Bane

All-Star Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is serving out the rest of his eight-game NBA suspension, due to a number of concerning offcourt issues, and could make his return to action as soon as this Monday.

Following a meeting with league commissioner Adam Silver, Morant sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose, in which he apologized and took accountability for his recent behavior.

These incidents away from the hardwood could have a major financial impact on what he’ll earn from his work on it. In a new piece, Keith Smith of Spotrac details how not qualifying for an All-NBA team this season would adversely affect the five-year, maximum-salary contract extension Morant signed last summer.

Language in the deal would enable Morant to earn more money with Memphis if he made an All-NBA team. Morant currently stands to make 25% of the NBA’s anticipated $134MM salary cap next season when the new extension begins. Were he to be named to an All-NBA team this year, his starting salary would begin at 30% of the cap.

Morant had a solid case for an All-NBA spot prior to his current suspension, but that case will be adversely affected by his extended absence.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • The Grizzlies are not quite sure how Morant’s impending return to the floor will impact the team, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Mannix notes that Morant was performing at an All-NBA level, and wonders if his extended time away will negatively affect his play in the short term.
  • While Morant has been away from the team, the pressure on the team’s other 2023 All-Star, power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., to produce offensively has increased, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He always shows flashes, and that’s been the thing with him,” backup point guard Tyus Jones said. “Consistency. He’s very capable of doing that. We need that from him, and he wants it. That’s the most important thing. He wants to continue to improve, he wants to dominate, he wants to be great. That’s all you can ask for.”
  • Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane was ejected last night from a game against the Heat, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Bane was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for colliding with the groin of Heat power forward Kevin Love during a play (ESPN video link).
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