Ja Morant's $8 Million Loss: Fact-Checking Charles Barkley's Claim

Grizzlies Star's Season Begins with Significant Financial Setback

by Zain ul Abedin
Ja Morant's $8 Million Loss: Fact-Checking Charles Barkley's Claim
© Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies have felt the absence of their star player, Ja Morant, who missed the first 25 games of the 2023–34 NBA season. The impact of this absence extends beyond the team's performance, raising questions about the financial repercussions for the two-time All-Star.

NBA legend and CNN commentator Charles Barkley recently sparked a conversation about the financial toll of Morant's suspension, claiming the player lost a staggering $8 million during this period. Morant's suspension comes in his fifth NBA season, a critical time as he entered the first year of his significant five-year, $197 million rookie max contract extension signed in 2022.

This deal set his annual earnings at about $34 million for the 2023–34 season. However, Morant's suspension has led to a considerable deduction in his income. To understand the financial impact, let's look back at Morant's previous suspension last season, where he forfeited approximately $668,659 over eight games, as reported by ESPN.

This loss occurred under his rookie contract; his annual salary was around $12.1 million. With his new max extension, the financial stakes have risen dramatically. Morant's 25-game suspension has cost him about $7.6 million, exceeding the entire season's earnings of Golden State Warriors' center Kevon Looney.

NBA's Suspension Impact

The NBA's suspension rules play a crucial role in this calculation. For suspensions exceeding 20 games, the NBA deducts 1/110th of the player's annual salary per missed game. In Morant's case, this equates to $304,545 per game, culminating in a $7.6 million loss for the 25 games.

The reasons behind the NBA's decision to suspend Morant stem from the league's commitment to maintaining a certain standard and public image. While Morant's actions didn't constitute a legal offense, they negatively impacted the NBA's reputation.

The league often takes action when players' behaviors harm its image and standards. Consequently, a 25-game suspension was deemed appropriate for Morant. This suspension has a silver lining for the Grizzlies: 50% of the amount withheld from Morant's salary will contribute towards the team's luxury tax, providing a slight financial reprieve.

As the Grizzlies navigate this challenging period without their leading player, the focus remains on how they and Morant will rebound from this significant setback.

Ja Morant Charles Barkley Grizzlies