As discipline looms for Ja Morant, many around the league are anticipating a “massive” penalty for the Memphis Grizzlies star.
After Morant got off with a relative slap on the wrist in March (he was suspended eight games), commissioner Adam Silver sounds determined to not make the same mistake, sending a strong message that Morant’s erratic behavior won’t be tolerated.
“This is a situation that is wide-ranging, and quite frankly, the indication here is that this is going to be a significant suspension,” said ESPN insider Brian Windhorst, conveying the gravity of the situation on Get Up. “The tone and the tenor and the fact that the Players Association is involved does not indicate this is going to be something similar to what we’ve seen before.”
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 2, 2023
Hoops Wire’s Sam Amico is bracing for a “massive” suspension, anticipating Morant will miss “no less than the first half” of next season.
That would be among the stiffest punishments in league history, rivaling similar suspensions served by Ron Artest (86 games for inciting the “Malice at the Palace”), Latrell Sprewell (68 for choking coach P.J. Carlesimo) and Gilbert Arenas (50 for drawing a gun on teammate Javaris Crittenton over a gambling debt).
Windhorst suspects Silver will wait to make an announcement, fearing reaction to Morant’s suspension could distract from the ongoing NBA Finals.
Though concerns persist over Morant’s mental health, particularly after his alarming social media activity prompted a police welfare check, the 23-year-old will have to show serious contrition before Silver allows him anywhere near an NBA hardwood, demanding accountability for his repeated missteps including brandishing a firearm on Instagram twice in three months.
Beyond the impact it’s already had on his image, Morant’s off-court controversies are also having a profound effect on his wallet, putting his endorsement deals with Nike and Powerade in jeopardy while falling short of All-NBA status, a snub that could cost him upwards of $40 million on his next contract. Drafted second overall out of Murray State, the 6’3” point guard has led Memphis in scoring each year since debuting in 2019.