GM says Grizzlies will spend more to put together Morant, core

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Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant reacts in the final minute against the Golden State Warriors during Game 6 of an NBA basketball Western Conference playoff semifinal in San Francisco, Friday, May 13, 2022. The Warriors won 110-96 and advanced to the conference finals. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Memphis, Tenn. ( Associated Press) — The Memphis Grizzlies are willing to spend whatever is necessary to keep their core together, including signing All-Star guard Jay Morant to a contract extension this off-season.

Grizzlies general manager and vice president of basketball operations, Zack Kleiman, made that very clear on Sunday. Memphis finished with the second-best record in the NBA and its highest playoff seeding at No. 2 in the Western Conference. Memphis was knocked out in six games by Golden State in the semifinals on Friday night.

Kleiman said of the future, “We will have no problem paying anyone we want to pay.” “There won’t be a problem with retention here.”

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Kleiman emphasized that this is what owner Robert Pera wanted. Memphis aims to maintain team chemistry while working towards winning the championship despite being one of the smaller-market teams in the NBA. Memphis recently ranked 10th in the league in terms of merchandise sales and Morant ranked ninth among players.

“We’re not worried about small market sentiments or any of that,” said Kleiman, this season’s NBA executive of the year. “We’re not going to have a problem keeping it together whatever we eventually decide along the way.”

2 overall in the 2019 draft, Pique Morant, who has improved from Rookie of the Year in 2020 to All-Star Starter this season and the NBA’s Finest Player of the Year, seventh in MVP voting Stay on Morant is eligible for a maximum contract extension of five years this off-season.

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And Kleiman made it as clear as possible that he wants to make sure Morant is in Memphis for a long time.

“Whatever I am allowed to say under NBA rules without violating the CBA, I say about what our plans will be,” Kleiman said.

Morant’s wish is to keep the Grizzlies as well, starting with himself.

“I am definitely happy to be here. Memphis is my home,” said Morant, who knows his contract status will be a hot topic this season. “If your (question) is: Do I want to live in Memphis? Am? Yes.”

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