Pete Pranica: Ja Morant asked about a potential extension: “If you want to know if I want to be in Memphis… hell yes.” pic.twitter.com/QxYwoN5eKE
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Drew Hill: Zach Kleiman is not allowed to say he will give Ja Morant a massive (super max?) extension this summer, but he gave a huge hint. “Whatever I’m allowed to say under NBA rules here, I’ll say. (*smirks*) He is of course a cornerstone of this franchise.”
Ja Morant has all but locked himself into a signing maximum extension with Memphis this offseason. In all likelihood, the Grizzlies will make him a designated rookie, allowing him to extend for up to five years, currently projected at $185.7 million. He will probably also receive the 30 percent Rose Rule criteria provisioned in his contract. Although he is likely to earn All-NBA honors this season, he will need to earn them again in 2022-23 to qualify for the higher maximum salary. This would increase his five-year deal to a projected $222.9 million amount.
In terms of problems, here’s what this deal tells us. First, that the Grizzlies care less about 2022 cap room and much more about keeping their books in the best shape possible for a Ja Morant extension. If Morant’s career stays on the same trajectory he’s likely signing a five-year deal for the max a year from now. Starting Jackson at a high number cuts into Memphis’s potential $20 million-plus in 2022 cap room, but the Grizzlies aren’t focused on being a free-agent destination.
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August 12, 2022 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: The first draft of next season’s NBA schedule has Lakers at Dallas/LeBron James at Luka Doncic on Christmas Day, league sources tell me. Changes are still possible before the full schedule officially drops next week but Christmas games usually hold. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
Although all of the rules and dates are in place, it’s an extremely open secret that there are no rules that truly govern free agency or trades. “There’s not a team in this league that follows the tampering rules to a T,” one front-office executive said. “But there are 30 teams in this league that find ways around the rules every day.”
One person from the league office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said if a better solution was presented the league would jump at it, but there’s no hope that any such solution exists. “The threat of harsher penalties and random audits doesn’t even make teams flinch,” the source said. “And at this point, if we investigated every possible instance of tampering, the whole league would come to a screeching halt and nothing would ever get done.”
Grant Williams said he has been in contact with Brown since the rumors began gaining steam this summer. “It’s a significant rumor,” said Williams who added, “It’s something you want to take for a grain of salt. I feel like JB is mature in his mindset; he knows that. I’ve talked to him, texted him…it’s one of those things, this league is a business. It’s one of those things you can’t be discouraged by.”
NBA Central: Kyrie and Russ in the lab 👀 (h/t @LakersDailyCom | via integrityhoops) pic.twitter.com/LST041ZNXI
August 12, 2022 | 5:50 pm EDT Update
Tony Jones: Sam Merrill received a two year deal from the Sacramento Kings, League Sources tell The Athletic. The deal comes with a partial guarantee, so he will have to make the roster. But the Kings currently have spots available. @Chris Haynes first reported an agreement