The biggest storyline for the Memphis Grizzlies this year has been the activity of their star guard Ja Morant. After numerous questionable decisions, including multiple gun-toting incidents, Morant has once again been suspended. He'll miss the first 25 games of next season, which will cost him millions of dollars.
While all of that drama was unfolding, the Grizzlies quietly made sure they secured their other guard — who's quickly approaching All-Star-level talent. The Grizzlies and Desmond Bane agreed on a five-year, $207 million deal.
It's the largest contract in Grizzlies franchise history. Combined with Morant's contract, the Grizzlies now have $400 million invested in their starting backcourt.
The Grizzlies selected Bane out of TCU with the 30th pick in the 2020 draft. This past season, he averaged career highs in several categories, including points (21.5), rebounds (5.0), assists (4.4) and field goal percentage (48%). He was a key cog for a Grizzlies team that won 51 games and earned the No. 2 seed in the West. Bane has also shot at least 40% from three-point range in each of his three NBA seasons.
Bane will be called upon to lead the team during Morant's suspension, and he'll likely continue to have an increased workload even when his backcourt mate returns. Bane's playing time has gone up each season, and with Morant sidelined, someone will need to pick up his production.
Though Bane's extension is a max deal, there's no escalator language in his contract. Some players get bonuses for reaching an All-NBA team or being named league MVP or winning Defensive Player of the Year. If Bane achieves one of those things, he'll get some cool hardware, but it won't give him any additional money.
Still, his new deal will pay him more than any player in Grizzlies franchise history. That's an impressive feat on its own.