The Memphis Grizzlies have nailed a number of top draft picks, which is a very good way to build a contender quickly after briefly bottoming out.
However, when you hit on picks, you also have to pay them, and they entered this offseason having already given Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. large extensions when they became eligible. This summer they had a decision to make about Desmond Bane, as the young wing has emerged as one of the NBA’s best volume shooters. Last season Bane set career marks by averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game on 47.9/40.8/88.3 shooting splits (which was actually his worst three-point shooting season of his young career). Bane is also a terrific defender, and should pair quite well with new addition Marcus Smart to form a physical backcourt defensive tandem.
The question for Memphis was how high they’d want to go in extension talks with Bane or whether he’d be willing to sign for anything short of the max. We got the answer when July 1 came about and Bane was officially extension eligible, as the Grizzlies signed him to a max extension that will pay him $207 million over five years.
BREAKING: Memphis Grizzlies G Desmond Bane has agreed on a five-year, $207M max contract extension, his agents Jim Tanner, Max Wiepking and Terrence Felder of @_Tandemse tell ESPN. Grizzlies’ cornerstone players — Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Bane — are secured long-term. pic.twitter.com/tFeXZedcst
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2023
Bane will join Morant and Jackson Jr. as the clear young core pieces in Memphis, with Smart giving them a veteran presence in the backcourt they haven’t had. Once Morant returns from his 25-game suspension, the Grizzlies figure to once again be among the West’s best in the regular season and will hope their core, all locked in on big deals, can deliver in the postseason in a way they haven’t quite been able to yet.