Adrian WojnarowskiSenior NBA Insider4 minutes of reading
Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The suspension covers the six games he missed, including Wednesday at Miami. Morant is eligible to play Monday against Dallas, the same day he could rejoin the Grizzlies in the team environment, although he will not play in tonight’s game as he must take extra time to physically prepare for your return.
He will forfeit $668,659 in salary.
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.
“Ja’s behavior was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” Silver said in a statement. “It also has serious implications given his huge following and influence, especially among young fans who look up to him. He expressed sincere regret and remorse for his behavior. Ja also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his duties and responsibilities to the Memphis Grizzlies and the greater NBA community extend far beyond his play on the court.”
The league said based on information obtained during the investigation, it has not concluded that the gun in question belonged to Morant, was brought into the nightclub by him or was displayed by him after a short period of time. The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or at any NBA facility, and Colorado authorities did not find sufficient cause to charge Morant with a crime.
Morant was seeking help for what he described in a statement as a need “to get help and work on learning better methods to deal with stress and my overall well-being,” and that prompted him to leave Memphis for a team, sources said. Morant entered a counseling program shortly after making the announcement.
The franchise announced that Morant, 23, will be out at least until Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies said they will continue to prioritize Morant’s desire and need to get help after a series of troubling incidents that culminated in him brandishing a gun at a suburban Denver nightclub on his March 4 Instagram Live feed.
The NBA has launched an investigation into the matter, and Wednesday’s meeting with Silver was the latest step in that process.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is a former Rookie of the Year and MVP for one of the league’s rising franchises. Before the Grizzlies’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that “Ja is fully committed to this process and ready for whatever comes after the next two games.”
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 a.m. ET on March 4, hours after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday, March 3. Morant could be seen holding a gun with his left hand. Morant deactivated his Instagram and Twitter accounts later that day.
In a statement at the time, Morant said he took “full responsibility for my actions last night.”
“I am sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” the statement read. “I’m going to take some time to get help and work on learning better methods for dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Nike, which has a shoe brand with Morant, supported the Grizzlies star in a statement shortly after.
“We appreciate Jah’s responsibility and taking the time to get the help he needs,” the statement said. “We support his prioritizing his well-being.”
Morant reactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Wednesday night, posting a Powerade ad on the latter.
ESPN’s Tim McMahon contributed to this report.