Report: Memphis sends Ja to Utah ahead of NBA draft (the giraffe, not the player)

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After a few great years in Memphis, Ja is heading to Utah for the pinnacle of her career.

We’re not talking about basketball.

Yes, fortunately for the Memphis Grizzlies fan base, Ja Morant is not traded to Utah Jazz. Instead, the Memphis Zoo announced Wednesday that it is sending Ja Raffe, named after the 2020 All-Star point guard, to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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The zoo said the decision was made as part of a species survival plan for the giraffes, with Ja Raffe joining the herd in Utah as a breeding male.

Ja Raffe was born on November 10, 2020 and goes by the name Morant a few days later in recognition of Morant’s recent Rookie of the Year win. The player seemed to enjoy the honor and has since encountered the animal. Memphis Zoo confirmed to ESPN that the move was not actually a swap, as no animals were returning to Memphis, while Hogle Zoo said it had no plans to change Ja Raffe’s name.

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As for Morant’s tenure in Memphis, that’s likely going to continue for quite a while. 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 record 56 -26.

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

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

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