Ja Morant Contract: Grizzlies Star Just Cost Himself $39.2 Million
Memphis Grizzlies superstar guard Ja Morant can’t stop putting himself in bad situations lately. In the latest incident, the 23-year-old flashed a handgun on Instagram Live, and the team announced he won’t play for “at least” the next two games. The incident is a problem for Morant and the team, and the NBA for numerous reasons. As far as the player himself goes, one of the biggest issues is that he just cost himself $38 million on the latest Ja Morant contract.
The Ja Morant contract
As the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the initial Ja Morant contract was a standard deal for his draft slot. It was a four-year, fully-guaranteed deal for $39,619,840 with an annual average value (AAV) of $9,904,960.
The last two years of the contract were club options, which the Grizzlies obviously picked up. This season, Morant’s base salary went up from $9,603,360 to $12,119,440.
During the 2022 offseason, the Grizzlies and its star agreed to a new Ja Morant extension that kicks in for the 2023-24 NBA season. The deal is the max rookie extension.
While the deal is finalized, the exact numbers aren’t. The overall value is based on the percentage of the salary cap, which won’t be set until this coming offseason. It also can go up based on Morant’s individual accomplishments.
Currently, the deal would start at 25% of the estimated 133 million salary cap. That would make the Ja Morant contract extension a five-year, $192.2 million deal, per Spotrac.
However, if Morant makes an All-NBA first team, the deal starts at 30% of the salary cap, or a $231.4 million deal. And since the most recent Morant incident all but guarantees he won’t be All-NBA first team, that just cost him $39.2 million.
How close was Ja Morant to first-team All-NBA?
Ja Morant was second-team All-NBA after a fantastic 2022-23 season. This year, he made the All-Star team as the third-leading guard vote-getter behind the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.
This season, Morant is averaging 27.1 points, 8.2 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game with 23.0 PER and a 5.8 in win shares. He’s also led the Grizzlies to second place in the Western Conference.
The truth is, despite his team’s success, Morant was likely on track for second- or third-team All-NBA at best. Luka Doncic seems like a sure thing for one guard spot at this point, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Steph Curry, and Donovan Mitchell all have some convincing statistical arguments over the Grizzlies guard.
Kyrie Irving would be in the mix, too, if it was only about on-court performance. However, like Morant (but in a very different way), Irving has nuked his chances of the All-NBA voters, made up of sportswriters and broadcasters, rewarding him with a first-team nod.
And in the end, that will cause the Grizzlies guard to lose $39.2 million on the next Ja Morant contract.