Ja Morant on Future, New Grizzlies Contract: 'I'm Not a Big Fan of the Leaving'

Erin WalshOctober 21, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) eyes his opponent in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Nikki Boertman)
AP Photo/Nikki Boertman

Grizzlies star Ja Morant all but confirmed he will sign an extension next summer to stay in Memphis. 

The guard told The Athletic's Joe Vardon that he indicated he has no intention of leaving the Grizzlies when he's eligible for a rookie extension following the 2021-22 season.

“Me, I’m not a big fan on the leaving,” the 22-year-old said.

He added: "As long as I'm here, I'm here; that's my focus. Regardless, I'm going to make the best of any situation, continue to just go out with my teammates, win games, play in front of our fans and do whatever I can to continue to bring love."

Like many stars in the NBA, Morant could opt to join a Big Three like the ones with the Los Angeles Lakers or Brooklyn Nets. However, the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year said he feels the Grizzlies already have enough in place to contend in the Western Conference.

"I feel like the talent was always there. We just have to piece it together, and a lot of credit goes to our front office and our coaching staff giving us the right pieces to be good as soon as we started," Morant said.

Whether Morant is right on that remains to be seen. It's hard to imagine the Grizzlies competing with the likes of the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz for one of the top spots in the West.

Still, the Grizzles are buoyed by Morant, who has emerged as one of the NBA's best young players. He opened up the 2021-22 season in dominant fashion against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, notching 37 points, six rebounds and six assists in a 132-121 win, leading all players in scoring.

The Murray State product averaged 19.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game last season while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from deep.

Morant is in the same elite category as Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, who both received five-year, $207 million rookie max extensions in August.

The South Carolina native is eligible for a five-year, $181 million rookie max extension this summer. Other players eligible for the same extension include New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson and New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett.   

Morant has led the Grizzlies in scoring in each of his last two seasons, so it would be no surprise if Memphis is ready to cough up the cash to keep its franchise cornerstone.