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Ja Morant facing ‘significant suspension’ for 2023-’24 NBA season

NBA commission Adam Silver announced before the NBA Finals that the league concluded its investigation into Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant and a decision is imminent. While an announcement won’t be made until after the NBA Finals, there is early word on the looming suspension.

Morant was suspended indefinitely by the Grizzlies after a new Instagram video allegedly showed him flashing a gun in a vehicle. It came just weeks after Morant returned from a suspension for flashing a firearm on Instagram Live while at a nightclub in Colorado.

  • Ja Morant contract: 5 years, $194.3 million extension

The NBA immediately launched an investigation, with the league thoroughly reviewing Morant’s off-court behavior both before his meeting with Silver and after. While the league is holding off on its announcement until the conclusion of the Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat series, there is an early buzz about the length of ban the All-Star point guard faces.

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up, insider Brian Windhorst said his conversations with league officials indicated that Morant is likely to receive a “significant suspension” from the NBA. Furthermore, Silver is working directly with the NBA Players Association on potential discipline.

“The tone, the tenor and the fact that the players association is involved do not indicate this is going to be something similar to what we’ve seen before. I also think Adam Silver is expecting there to be a lot of reaction to what he does.”

Brian Windhorst on the incoming Ja Morant suspension

As Windhorst noted, the players association working directly with Silver on a suspension is highly unusual. Typically, the NBAPA would appeal any suspension a player receives as a matter of principle, to provide balance to the NBA’s disciplinary process and to ensure all of its players are represented fairly.

  • Ja Morant stats (2022-’23): 26.2 PPG, 8.1 APG, 5.9 RPG, 46.6% FG

For the NBAPA to be directly involved in this matter suggests an appeal of a suspension might not happen. It also signals that part of any suspension will likely include Morant receiving support and treatment for his mental health, ensuring he avoids any setbacks in the future.

What is the longest suspension in NBA history?

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA suspended guard O.J. Mayo for two years in 2016 for violating the NBA’s drug policies. Selected No. 3 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, Mayo was a repeat offender of the drug policy. He was eligible to apply for reinstatement in 2018, but has not returned.

Longest NBA suspensions ever

  • O.J. Mayo – 164 games (2016-’18) – Repeat violations of anti-drug policies
  • Ron Artest – 86 games (2004) – Malice at the Palace, fighting a fan
  • Latrell Sprewell – 68 games (1997) – Attacking coach P.J. Carlesimo
  • Gilbert Arenas – 50 games (2010) – Flashing a gun in NBA locker room
  • Javaris Crittenton – 38 games (2010) – Flashing a gun in NBA locker room
  • Stephen Jackson – 30 games (2004) – Malice at the Palace

The NBA’s investigation into Ja Morant includes his past off-court issues. He was investigated in September for an alleged altercation with a high school student in Tennessee. Morant was also investigated by the NBA in February after the Indiana Pacers organization accused one of Morant’s acquaintances of aggressively confronting them.

Shortly after, the Pacers’ traveling party said they were standing by the team bus when a “slow-moving SUV trained a red laser” on them and Morant was believed to be in the vehicle. He was also accused of beating up a teenager and flashing a gun at them during a pickup basketball game.

Related: Memphis Grizzlies changed players’ road trip rules because of Ja Morant