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Rival teams reportedly expect NBA to make ‘example’ of Ja Morant with huge suspension

Executives around the NBA believe the league could make an example out of Ja Morant and hand down a major suspension to the Memphis Grizzlies superstar after a new video of him brandishing a firearm went viral.

Heading into the 2022-2023 season, the Memphis Grizzlies were seen as a serious title contender due to being led by budding superstar Ja Morant. However, after a strong start to the season for both, the narrative about the team and the two-time All-Star has completely changed over the last six months.

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At the start of the new year, rumors of Ja Morant and his posse’s questionable behavior had been churning around the rumor mill. However, it all hit a head in February when the 23-year-old was caught on video carrying a gun at a Denver nightclub. The viral video led to an eight-game suspension and the young star being forced to seek counseling for his immature and at times dangerous behavior.

By April, it seemed that he and the team were in a better head space. However, that was all derailed when the Grizzlies were bounced from the opening round of the 2023 NBA playoffs by a surprise Los Angeles Lakers team. With the season over, the hope was Morant would further the lessons learned earlier this year and stay out of the headlines during the offseason. Unfortunately, he did not live up to those expectations.

Ja Morant stats (’22-’23): 26.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 30% 3 PT

ja morant, memphis grizzlies
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, an Instagram Live video of Ja Morant again brandishing a gun with a friend who has been banned from the team facility made its way online and created another firestorm for the young star. Now, after the team suspended him again this weekend, many are wondering what could be the punishment handed down by the NBA after he clearly did not learn from his missteps in February.

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On a Monday edition of “CNN This Morning,” The Athletic’s NBA insider Shams Charania revealed that even the Memphis Grizzlies foresee a massive suspension to soon be handed down to their top star.

“Ja Morant owned up to it at the moment, and everyone thought he had moved on but now that it’s happened [again] two months later; he go suspended for eight games the first time, and I believe around the league — even around the Grizzlies — there are those that consider and believe this is going to be a serious suspension that Ja Morant will be given if this investigation does show that this was his gun that he flashed over the weekend.”

– Shams Charania

Adding to that thought process, on Sunday night, Sports Illustrated league insider Chris Mannix spoke to several NBA executives about the situation, and one said they believe commissioner Adam Silver has “got to set an example” with this latest punishment. Mannix also added that “rival executives believe half a season — or more — isn’t out of the question” for Ja Morant.

Charania mentioned during his CNN appearance that he does not expect the Grizzlies’ talent to get a full-year ban like Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas received for bringing a gun to the team’s locker room back in 2010.

“There’s a lot of concern, even with the Grizzlies internally that this will result in a serious suspension. Of course, the fear would be a full season that you would lose him, but this is not similar to Gilbert Arenas,” Charania said. His gun was not brought to the arena. His gun was not pointed at anyone. Was not flashed to a teammate at an arena. This was done on his own time.”

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