Memphis Grizzlies: Is Jaren Jackson Jr. worth massive rumored contract?

Memphis Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

One of the most uneventful storylines of this offseason thus far for the Memphis Grizzlies has been in regards to Jaren Jackson Jr.‘s contract extension. The Grizzly forward is finally ready to be paid, though many fans believed Memphis would hold off until after the season.

Deep into the offseason, we still hadn’t had an answer or any clues to guide our expectations. Until now.

On Friday, a rumor surfaced via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, an NBA Insider, detailing a possible $100 million contract extension for Jaren Jackson Jr. At this point, I’d like to clarify that this is nothing more than a rumor. Still, the source is pretty reliable. Here’s what Windhorst said.

“I was talking to several executives this week and one of them said Jackson could get something along the lines of Jaylen Brown, a $100-million contract sub-max”

Is Jaren Jackson Jr. worth the supposed $100 million price tag that the Grizzlies have placed on him?

The big part of the rumor that will stick out is the fact that Jaren Jackson Jr. is not getting a maximum contract. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise — it would be premature to give JJJ, a player who has struggled with injuries, a max deal. Still, if this rumor is true, the Grizzly forward will be getting a lot of money.

Is he worth it?

The short answer is yes. The Grizzlies are at a focal point in their rebuild right now. If they didn’t give JJJ the money he wanted, leading to a trade or the potential to let him walk, they’d be squandering an opportunity. Yes, it may be risky to pay a player who is coming off of his worst season, but what other option does Memphis have?

The Grizzlies have to start taking risks, and Jackson is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward move to make.

As early as the first season of his career, JJJ was already one of the most lethal three-point shooting big men in the league. He just turned 22 earlier this week (happy birthday), which means that he is a long way from his ceiling as an NBA player, especially as a Memphis Grizzlies big.

Memphis will want to pay Jackson Jr. to become an improved version of the injury-free player that they saw early in his career. They want the 17 points per game, 39% three-point shooting stretch four that they picked up in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The potential is still there — why not take advantage and secure him long-term?