NBA Suspends Ja Morant for Eight Games

Ja Morant will miss some key games as the 2022-23 NBA season winds down. On Wednesday, the NBA announced that the Memphis Grizzlies star has been suspended for eight games due to conduct detrimental to the team. The suspension covers the six games he has already missed, including Wednesday against the Miami Heat. Morant can return to action on Monday when the Grizzlies take on the Dallas Mavericks. 

"Ja's conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous," NBA commissioner Adam Silver in a statement, per ESPN. "It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him. He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court."  

Morant met with Silver on Wednesday over his handling of a firearm at the Denver nightclub earlier this year. An NBA investigation did not conclude that the gun belonged to Morant. The league also didn't find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in an NBA facility. Colorado authorities have not charged Morant with a crime.

Earlier this month, Morant released a statement about his recent actions. "I take full responsibility for my actions last night," Morant said. "I'm sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies' organization for letting you down. I'm going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being." Morant has entered a counseling program shortly after missing the statement. 

Morant, 23, is one of the NBA's brightest starts as he's a two-time All-Star, a former Rookie of the Year winner and was named Most Improved Player last year. Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins revealed their plan for Morant when he returns to the team. 

"We understand what's happened through the investigation, now all we're focused on is that we now know the plan. Ja will return to the team, first opportunity will be back practicing with the team on Monday," Jenkins told reporters on Wednesday, per the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "There will be a quick ramp-up period after that. "Obviously he hasn't been playing basketball for almost two weeks now so that'll be our focus and hopefully get him back on the court pretty quickly.