The Memphis Grizzlies inked former Gonzaga star Brandon Clarke to a four-year $52 million contract extension, hours ahead of the NBA rookie scale contract deadline.
Had Memphis not agreed to an extension with Clarke, he would have become a restricted free agent after the season.
Instead he secures the second largest contract ever given to a Gonzaga alumni in the NBA, behind the four-year, $75 million contract extension for Domantas Sabonis a few years back.
Clarke is expected to start for Memphis to begin the season, replacing Jaren Jackson Jr. who is out with an injury.
The 26-year-old has mostly come off the bench for the Grizzlies since they made him the 21st pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He was an All-Rookie first-team honoree after he averaged 12.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19-20.
Clarke’s performance dipped in his second season, with a kink in his mechanics contributing to a sharp decline in his outside shooting numbers. He still averaged 10.3 points and 5.6 boards, however, and nearly replicated those numbers exactly this past season – averaging 10.4 and 5.3 while playing a career-low 19.5 minutes per game.
Clarke did see his playing time increase during the playoffs last year, and he made the most of it. In 24.7 minutes per contest, Clarke averaged 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds – including a pair of 20 point showings against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Now he’ll get a nice chunk of change and a chance to prove his performance in an increased role this April wasn’t just a fluke.
Somehow I doubt it was.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.