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Grizzlies signing Jaren Jackson Jr. to four-year, $105M contract extension

Grizzlies big Jaren Jackson Jr.

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 7: Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates during a preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets on October 7, 2021 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Grizzlies are slowly building around their young core.

That includes signing Jaren Jackson Jr. to a lucrative contract extension.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

We’ll see whether that $105 million includes any incentives that might not be so easy to achieve. Coming from the agent, this is the most player-favorable framing.

Either way, it’s less than Jackson’s max offer sheet would have been in 2022 restricted free agency – projected $128 million over four years.

A popular pick for Most Improved Player, Jackson could have earned more by waiting until free agency. The 6-foot-11 22-year-old is a 3-point-bombing, shot-blocking rising star.

But rejecting this extension would have carried significant risk. Jackson just returned late last season from a torn meniscus suffered in the bubble.

With Jackson locked in, Memphis must determine the best way to deploy him. He brings the most matchup advantages at center, but he’s also thin for the position. Maybe he’ll bulk up. In the meantime, the Grizzlies have Steven Adams to do that dirty work and allow Jackson to play power forward. Adams should also leave more offensive touches for Jackson than Jonas Valanciunas would have. Ja Morant is adept at setting up Jackson.

Memphis has positioned Jackson to succeed – and will pay him as if he’ll do so.