Morant’s Grizzlies Surging Despite 2nd-Lowest Payroll

    • They are only one game back from the 2-seed Warriors, who spend $61.7M more.
    • Executive Zach Kleiman took over in 2019, drafted Ja Morant, and constructed this inexpensive powerhouse.

Ja Morant is setting all sorts of records for an overachieving Grizzlies team that’s historically never finished higher than the 4-seed.

He dropped 46 on Saturday, then answered with a 52-point career night against the Spurs on Monday — the first player in 33 years to set a franchise’s scoring record in consecutive games.

His Grizzlies are only one game back from the 2-seed Warriors — a team spending $61.7 million more than them.

  • Memphis has the second-lowest payroll in the NBA ($117.2M).
  • Morant ($9.6M) is the 137th-highest-paid player in the league this season.
  • When Morant inevitably makes an All-NBA team this season, he’ll be eligible for a five-year, $181 million maximum extension this summer.
  • He might’ve executed both the dunk and play of the year in one game.

Memphis (43-20) is shredding up the league, thanks in large part to executive Zach Kleiman, the mastermind who took over in 2019, drafted Ja, and constructed this inexpensive powerhouse. 

The franchise hasn’t passed the first round since 2014-15 and only made the Conference Finals once (2012-13).

But deep run or not, Memphis might take home matching MVP and Executive of the Year trophies.