3 things we’ve learned about the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) - Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) - Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

1. The Grizzlies are committed to their Big 3

After signing Desmond Bane to a 5-year, $207 million max extension (the largest in franchise history), the Grizzlies have signed their three core players to multi-year, nine-figure extensions.

Jaren Jackson Jr. is entering the second season of his four-year, $105 million deal. Ja Morant will begin the first year of his five-year, $197 million max contract. Bane’s extension will kick in during the 2024-25 season. At that point, the Grizzlies will spend about $107 million per year on those three players.

That is roughly 75 percent of the salary cap and will almost certainly push the Grizzlies into their biggest luxury tax bill in franchise history.

It is highly unlikely the Grizzlies will add another player close to the level of this Big 3. If Memphis is to win its first title during this “NxtGen” era, it will happen because the Morant-Jackson-Bane trio leads the way.

This group of three core players fits together seamlessly in terms of timeline and skill set. Astonishingly, the Grizzlies drafted all three in three consecutive drafts from 2018 through 2020, an incredible feat of team-building.

All three are 25 or under. All three are under team control for the next three seasons.

On the court, Morant is the offensive engine. He provides the playmaking and volume scoring, not to mention the electric highlight dunks that have made Memphis more nationally popular than ever before.

But as an undersized, defensively limited point guard, he needs a strong rim protector.

Enter Jackson.

The 2023 Defensive Player of the Year is already the best rim protector in the league. He also developed his offensive game last season, averaging an efficient 18.6 points per game with an increased shot diet in the paint.


Still, neither Morant nor Jackson is an elite shooter. They need a spacer.

That’s what made Bane’s addition in the 2020 draft so important. Shooting a blistering 42.5 percent from deep on a high volume during his first three seasons, the two-guard has rapidly ascended to become one of the top marksmen in the league.

He’s also a solid wing defender and secondary playmaker. With the 30th pick, the Grizzlies nabbed the elite 3-and-D wing they were missing.

This Memphis Big 3 doesn’t look championship-worthy…yet. None of them are the type of perennial MVP candidate it takes to win a title. But they’re also incredibly young and oozing with potential.

If one of these three becomes a top-five player in the sport, the Grizzlies will be true contenders, and while Morant is most likely to be thrust into such a conversation, Jackson’s frame and Bane’s incredible growth indicate it could be them as well.

If not, Memphis doesn’t have many other options. While all three will be tradeable, it is so much harder to add a star through trades or free agency, particularly for a small-market team.

Locking up Bane this summer was the right move. The Grizzlies have their most talented trio in franchise history.

For better or worse, the Grizzlies will go as far as these three can take them.