September 26, 2023

NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the media on Thursday prior to Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, and among the many topics he covered was the Ja Morant situation. While Silver was somewhat vague, his comments make it seem like the Memphis Grizzlies guard will face significant punishment.

Nothing will be announced until after the NBA Finals have concluded, however. 

“We’ve uncovered a fair amount of additional information since I was last asked about the situation,” Silver said. “We probably could have brought it to a head now, but we made the decision — and I believe the Players Association agrees with us — that it would be unfair to these players and these teams in the middle of this series to announce the results of that investigation. 

“And given that we’re in the offseason, he has been suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies indefinitely, so nothing would have changed anyway in the next few weeks. It seemed better to park that at the moment — at least any public announcement — and my sense now is that shortly after the conclusion of the Finals we will announce the results of that investigation.”

Morant was suspended for eight games this season after he posted a video of himself flashing a gun inside a strip club in the Denver area following a game against the Nuggets. Though he did not face criminal charges, Silver chided him for “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous” conduct. 

“I’ve thought about [whether the initial suspension was long enough],” Silver said. “And Joe Dumars, who is here, was in the room with me when we met with Ja, and he’s known Ja longer than I have. For me at the time, an eight-game suspension seemed very serious, and the conversation we had, and Tamika Tremaglio from the Players Association was there, as well, felt heartfelt and serious.

“But I think he understood that it wasn’t about his words. It was going to be about his future conduct. I guess in hindsight, I don’t know. If it had been a 12-game suspension instead of an eight-game suspension, would that have mattered? I know it seemed based on precedent, and he’s represented, and we want to be fair in terms of the league, it seemed appropriate at the time. That’s all I can say. Maybe by definition to the extent we’ve all seen the video that it appears he’s done it again, I guess you could say maybe not.”

During his suspension, Morant briefly attended a counseling program in Florida. Upon his return, he told the media that he does not have a problem with alcohol and instead sought treatment “to learn how to manage stress, cope with stress in a positive way instead of ways I’ve tried to deal with it before that caused me to make mistakes.” In addition, Morant noted he wanted to “be more responsible” moving forward. 

However, just a month after the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers, Morant was once again seen holding a gun in an Instagram Live video. He was quickly suspended from all team activities indefinitely, and the league opened an investigation. 

Adding to the drama is the fact that the gun videos are not the only controversial incidents Morant has been involved in over the past year. According to reports, he allegedly beat up a teenager during a pick-up basketball game and threatened a shoe salesman. Furthermore, police in Memphis had to do a wellness check on Morant last month after he made cryptic Instagram posts. 

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