Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been in the news and off the court for all the wrong reasons lately, but it looks like some some positive ground is being made for the young guard.
The NBA came out on Wednesday to announce that a punishment has been handed down to Morant following an incident that took place earlier this month in which he was seen holding a gun in a Denver area nightclub.
Following a league investigation, Morant has been suspended without pay for eight games.
The following has been released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/OhNwWzj9zU
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) March 15, 2023
In a report that came out just minutes before the NBA’s announcement, insider Adrian Wojnarowksi offered some details regarding the situation.
“Morant met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in New York on Wednesday over his handling of a firearm at a suburban Denver nightclub earlier this month,” Wojnarowski wrote.
“Morant has been seeking assistance for what he described in a statement as a need ‘to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being,’ and that’s taken him out of Memphis on a leave from the team, sources said. Morant entered a counseling program shortly after making the announcement.”
It’s been easy to criticize Morant for some pretty despicable behavior recently, but he is far from the only star athlete who has struggled with massive amounts of fame and fortune early in his career.
Hopefully, this brief period in the headlines for the wrong reasons has proven to Morant that living life a bit more responsibly is the best way to go from here on out. Without a doubt, the NBA is going to keep a close eye on him, and if any other issues arise in the future, the punishment might be far more dramatic.
According to the NBA’s announcement, Morant will be eligible to return for his team’s March 20 game against the Dallas Mavericks. He’s already missed five games, and the league is including those games in his suspension.
While the former No. 2 overall pick will be eligible to return on Monday, it seems like he won’t be playing against the Mavericks.
Morant hadn't been playing basketball while at a counseling center in Florida, so his ramp up is expected to extend past Monday's game vs. Dallas when he's first eligible to return, sources tell ESPN. It's expected that he'll return to play shortly thereafter.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2023
Though the Grizzlies lost the first two games that Morant sat out, they have now won three straight, including two blowout wins, with one coming against the Golden State Warriors and the other coming versus the Mavs.
The team will look to go 3-0 in its next three games before Morant is eligible to return to the rotation.
On the season, Morant is putting up a blazing 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game.