The NBA and league Commissioner Adam Silver may want fans to focus on the Finals series between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, but it appears the controversy surrounding Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant is too big for the basketball world to put on the back burner. Back in March, an IG Live video featuring him brandishing a gun derailed his career and his team’s playoff hopes when it led to him leaving the Grizzlies for multiple games. At the time, the team and the league were criticized for treating the situation lightly because he’s one of the NBA’s future stars.
Things got even worse in May, when Morant was once again seen with a gun on IG Live. This time around, there was increased pressure on Silver and Memphis to punish Morant appropriately, regardless of his star status. As the playoffs have progressed, the commissioner has stayed focused on the game, but on Thursday, during his annual Finals press conference, Silver discussed details on the league’s decision on the point guard’s current status. He explained “the individual player’s history” and the two-time All-Star’s “history of prior acts” are considerations in any disciplinary actions. Silver went on to reveal that a decision on Morant’s punishment will be announced after the NBA Finals.
“We’ve uncovered a fair amount of additional information,” Silver said. “We probably could have brought it to a head now, but we’ve made the decision that it would be unfair to these players and these teams to announce that decision in the middle of this series.”
Following the May incident, Ja was suspended indefinitely by the Grizzlies. Of course, it’s the offseason so that doesn’t mean much at the moment. Right now, Memphis is more concerned with scouting and preparing for the 2023 NBA Draft. For his part, Morant needs to take this time to work on himself and the issues that are leading him to make these self-destructive, public mistakes.
“Given that we’re of course in the offseason, he has now been suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies indefinitely, so nothing would have changed anyway in the next few weeks,” Silver added. “It seemed better to park that at the moment, at least any public announcement, and my sense now is that shortly after the conclusion of the Finals we will announce the outcome of that investigation.”
Honestly, I don’t have a problem with the NBA waiting until after the Finals to make the decision public. Denver and Miami worked very hard to get to this moment and they deserve to have the spotlight to themselves. If we all have to wait a few weeks to hear about Ja Morant’s punishment, it’s not going to change anything. And frankly, staying out of the spotlight and the headlines is probably the best thing for the embattled young star.