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Memphis Grizzlies making huge changes on road trips ahead of Ja Morant’s return

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is eligible to return from his suepsnion on March 20 against the Dallas Mavericks. Before the All-Star point guard returns to the court, the Grizzlies’ organization is creating sweeping changes to prevent further issues on road trips.

Morant, age 23, was suspended eight games by the NBA after he posted an Instagram Live video in which he brandished a firearm while at a strip club in Denver. The incident occurred just hours after Memphis lost 113-97 to the Denver Nuggets.

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It was the latest in a growing list of alleged incidents that heightened concerns about Morant’s maturity. He was previously sued following an accusation that he beat up a 17-year-old and flashed a gun at him following a pickup basketball game at Morant’s Tennessee home.

  • Ja Morant stats (2022-’23):

He 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.

Morant has also been investigated by police after he allegedly confronted a high school student in September who previously got into an argument with Morant’s sister. The All-Star point guard also faced an allegation of threatening the head of security at a Memphis mall after Morant’s mother called him to the store following an issue with an employee.

  • Ja Morant contract: 5 years, $188 million

The Grizzlies have been concerned about Morant’s maturity and off-court issues for some time. According to Shams Charania, veteran center Steven Adams spoke in a players-only meeting in late February about the need for his teammates to be more disciplined and stop going out after games on road trips. While the message was viewed by many in the room as being directed at Morant, he still went out after it.

Morant has now taken some steps to address his off-field issues, attending therapy and meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. However, the Grizzlies reportedly feel they need to take additional measures to avoid further problems.

According to Joe Vardon and Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Grizzlies will curtail nightlight habits for players moving forward by leaving more road cities immediately after games rather than staying overnight. It’s also reportedly possible that additional measures are taken.

  • Memphis Grizzlies road record: 13-22

While it might be viewed as an extreme measure to take with professional athletes, the organization clearly believes it’s a necessary step to take. Morant will still receive counseling upon his NBA return, with the hope around the league that it helps him avoid further issues.

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