Memphis Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant has been suspended by the NBA for eight games after a string of questionable behavior.
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news earlier today, March 15, 2023:
The NBA is suspending Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant for eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2023
The suspension includes the five games Morant has already missed. The 23-year-old dynamo was involved in a series of infractions leading up to the imposition by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Morant publicized himself brandishing a handgun on Instagram in the early morning of March 4, 2023, following a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A provocative photograph of the Grizzlies star at a strip club made the rounds throughout social media as well.
This came on the heels of recent accusations blaming Morant for allegedly getting into a physical altercation with a 17-year-old teenager in a pick-up game of basketball over the summer of 2022, according to Sports Illustrated. Additionally, SI reports that a Memphis mall security guard filed a police report, for the Murray State product supposedly ‘threatened him and an associate of Morant shoved him, though no arrests were made.’
Looking past his temporarily tarnished reputation, Morant has been in the midst of a career season. He’s averaged 27.1 points per game — just shy of his career-high 27.4 points per game in 2021-22 — to go along with career-bests 6.0 rebounds and 8.2 assists. He’s led the Memphis Grizzlies to a 41-26 record as the current No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies have been good at holding down the fort even without the services of their fringe superstar, as they went 20-5 in his stead in 2021-22, and are 7-7 in his absence this season.
The Grizzlies play the Miami Heat tonight on the road, which will mark Morant’s sixth-consecutive missed game, bringing him just two more games away from return. The Sacramento Kings are nipping at their heel, one game back in the standings.