Memphis sends Ja Raffe, named for Morant, to Utah

After a few great years in Memphis, Ja is headed to Utah for the prime of his career.

We are not talking about basketball.

Yes, fortunately for the Memphis Grizzlies fanbase, Ja Morant is not being traded to the Utah Jazz. Rather, the Memphis Zoo announced Wednesday it was sending Ja Raffe, named after the All-Star point guard, to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The zoo said the move was made as part of a Species Survival Plan for giraffes, with Ja Raffe joining the herd in Utah as a breeding male.

Ja Raffe was born on Nov. 10, 2020 and named after Morant days later, a recognition of Morant’s recent Rookie of the Year win. The player seemed to enjoy the honor and has since met the animal. The Memphis Zoo confirmed to ESPN the move isn’t actually a trade, as no animal is going back to Memphis, while the Hogle Zoo said it has no plans to change Ja Raffe’s name.

As far as Morant’s tenure in Memphis, that’s probably going to continue for a while longer. The 22-year-old is coming off a third season in which he posted a career-high 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game, leading the team to a 56-26 record.

Morant has already said he plans to stay with the Grizzlies long-term and is eligible to sign a five-year, $181 million contract extension this offseason.

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant takes a selfie with Ja Raffe the giraffe at the Memphis Zoo in 2020. (Memphis Zoo/Twitter)

Ja Morant and Ja Raffe are no longer in Memphis together. (Memphis Zoo/Twitter)

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