MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Editor's note: This story was updated to include quotes from Ja Morant and Zach Kleiman from a press conference on July 8, 2022.
Ja Morant is here to stay for a while after signing a five-year, $193 million designated rookie maximum extension deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, which may very well become worth $231 million, ESPN tweeted.
Morant secured the largest monetary deal in Grizzlies franchise history.
Morant's deal is notable not just for the money included, but also what's not included. The extension does not contain a player option in the fifth and final year of the contract, a detail used by many NBA stars that gives them control of their own futures.
Morant made it clear to media Friday that he's here to stay and trusts the Grizzlies organization.
"A lot of credit goes to the organization with making me happy. "Bringing me in, making me feel at home, allowing me to be myself while I'm out on that court being able to play my game," Morant said. "You know it makes me happy and just the loyalty and the joy they show with me being here means a lot to me coming from somebody who is a big family person. I feel like the whole organization is my family. Memphis is my family and that's why this is my home."
Morant has been seen at Summer League games in Utah supporting the new additions to the Grizzlies. Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman said the leadership Morant has displayed made it easy to commit him.
"The decision doesn't get any easier," Kleiman said. "There's no one who I would want at the heart of this team like Ja is. I have all the confidence in world that we're going to get to where we want to get to which is winning championships in Memphis."
According to ESPN, Morant closed the 2022 regular season averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds.
After taking the Grizzlies further in the playoff championships than ever in Grizzlies history and breaking several franchise records, Morant has not just become the face of the Grizzlies, but his brand is growing so quickly that many are referring to him as the face of Memphis.
Morant recently collaborated with Body Armor and Coca-Cola in a refurbishing project that redesigned 13 outdoor basketball courts throughout the city.
Those courts include Washington, Gooch, Glenview, CW Davis, Alcy, Bickford Park, Pine Hill, Lewis-Davis, and Halle.
"As a kid, that's where I grew up on, concrete court. It kind of reminded me of being back home playing on that court. All that went into play in where the courts would be at," Morant said.
Morant spent Tuesday, June 28, and Wednesday, June 29, visiting the newly completed outdoor courts, spending time with children in the community, hosting a clinic for some 100 summer campers, Mayor Jim Strickland said.
This collaboration with Body Armor and Coca-Cola is among several other secured endorsements like Nike, Hyperice, and Uber Eats, along with commercial team ups with Hulu and Beats By Dre.
The M in Morant might as well stand for "Big M's" and "Memphis" because he says Memphis is his home, and he's not going anywhere.