Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Memphis Grizzlies and Jaren Jackson Jr. have agreed to a rookie contract extension for four years worth $105 million.
Memphis Grizzlies F Jaren Jackson Jr., has agreed to a four-year, $105 million rookie contract extension, his agent Austin Brown of @CAA_Basketball tells ESPN. Another massive deal to secure one of league’s best young big men ahead of 6 PM ET deadline.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 18, 2021
The length - and especially the value - of the contract has been up for debate here at GBB and everywhere that discusses the Memphis Grizzlies. Across his three-year NBA career to this point he has averaged 15.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 126 career games played. Jaren’s unique abilities that make him one of the NBA’s true unicorns - volume three point shooting and elite defensive potential as a 7-foot tall 22-year-old - suggested that it was in the best interest of Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman and the entire organization to get such a deal done. But it does not come without some risk - Jaren has had multiple injury concerns throughout his time with Memphis since he was drafted #4 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, and there are holes in his game (rebounding and being prone to foul trouble) that give some pause about offering such a lofty extension.
But that is the cost of doing business. The Grizzlies prioritized getting Jaren healthy after his meniscus tear in the Bubble, and this level of financial investment aligns with how the organization views him in terms of his future with Memphis. And if Jaren Jackson Jr. takes the leap many expect him to - he’s a dark horse Most Improved Player candidate this season - this contract will be looked back on as one of the best value signings of this extension period. The talent is there. If he can improve his availability, it should shine through.
Ja Morant is now the unquestioned leader of the franchise, but he needs a clear co-star - a Marc Gasol to his Mike Conley (or vice versa). Of course players such as Morant and Jackson Jr. have never suited up for the Grizzlies before - such athleticism, such potential, both contributing to why the future seems to be so bright for Memphis.
Morant’s pay day will come (roughly the same time next year if not sooner). Today, the Grizzlies have taken their first big step towards establishing what this team will be built around in terms of salary cap space devotion over the next almost half-decade.
Congratulations to Jaren Jackson Jr. Now, without distraction, the NBA season for the Memphis Grizzlies can begin.
Stick with GBB as the campaign kicks off this Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and for all things Memphis Grizzlies.