Silver: Ja Morant investigation results, possible suspension to come down after Finals

Dallas Mavericks v Memphis Grizzlies
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DENVER — The NBA has nearly concluded its investigation into the latest incident of Ja Morant apparently waiving a gun on social media, however, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league plans to “park” the report and any announcement of a possible punishment until after the NBA Finals, so as not to distract from the games.

“We’ve uncovered a fair amount of additional information, I think, since I was first asked about the situation,” Silver said in a press conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “I will say we probably could have brought it to a head now, but we made the decision, and I believe the Players Association agrees with us, that it would be unfair to these players and these teams in the middle of the series to announce the results of that investigation.

“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. 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.”

That statement hints at a long suspension for Morant — Silver believes the announcement will be big enough news to draw headlines over the NBA Finals. That only happens if it’s something significant. Silver would not divulge any potential punishment, but the expectation in league circles is for him to come down much harder on Morant this time. While Morant did not break any laws, this is a serious image issue for the NBA (one that reverberates through decades of the league).

The Grizzlies suspended Morant after he appeared to flash a handgun on friend Davonte Pack’s Instagram account. Morant has since released a statement taking responsibility for his actions, but otherwise staying out of the spotlight.

That came months after Morant was suspended eight games after another video of him flashing a gun in a Denver area club was posted on Instagram Live.

After that first incident, Morant spent time away from the team to seek counseling, and he met with Silver about what had happened. Morant admitted after the No. 2 seed Grizzlies were eliminated in the first round by the Lakers his actions were part of the distractions that threw off the Grizzlies.

Silver was asked if he had come down harder on Morant after the first incident — his suspension was seen as player-friendly — if things would have been different.

“I’ve thought about that, and Joe Dumars [VP of basketball operations with the NBA], who is here, was in the room with me when we met with Ja, and he’s known Ja longer than I have, Silver said. “For me at the time, an eight-game suspension seemed very serious, and the conversation we had, and Tamika Tremaglio from the Players Association was there, as well, felt heartfelt and serious. But I think he understood that it wasn’t about his words. It was going to be about his future conduct.

“I guess in hindsight, I don’t know. If it had been a 12-game suspension instead of an eight-game suspension, would that have mattered?”

Morant lost about $669,000 in salary with the last suspension, although the real hit was his missing games and the team stumbling after this incident, giving voters a reason to keep him off an All-NBA team — that cost him $39 million on his contract extension that kicks in next season (he is not eligible for the Rose Rule max).

After cryptic Instagram posts, sheriffs conduct welfare check on Morant. He’s fine.

Ja Morant Hosts Sound Nightclub
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There are a lot of people worried about the mental health of Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant. That led to the Memphis Police Department sending officers out for a mental wellness check on Morant on Wednesday morning. Fortunately, he is fine.

It all started when Morant put up an Instagram story with some cryptic messages, which were then deleted. The first one said “Love ya ma,” (followed by a blue heart emoji, which was in each of the first three posts), then “Love ya pops,” then “You da greatest baby girl love ya.” Then he posted one final thing that simply said, “Bye.”

Police were sent to check on Morant’s welfare, reports TMZ Sports.

A spokesperson for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said cops went to the NBA star’s home in Tennessee shortly after Morant shared the concerning messages on his Instagram page … and they say he told them simply “that he is taking a break from social media.”

“He is fine,” the spokesperson added.

That’s good news.

Morant is currently on suspension from the Grizzlies after a second video where he appears to flash a gun. Morant has taken public responsibility for his actions while the NBA investigates, and the expectation around the league is that Adam Silver will come down hard on him with a stiff suspension.

Morant was suspended for eight games in March after flashing a gun at a Denver-area club. At the time Morant went through counseling to deal with his stress and was away from the team for a time, and he met with Silver as well. Morant said to Silver and publicly that incident was not representative of who he was as a person and he would be more responsible.

Morant also admitted that incident impacted the Grizzlies on and off the court.

Now the Grizzlies and Morant await the league’s ruling on his expected suspension.

PBT Podcast: It’s a Fiesta when Spurs win lottery, plus playoff talk


It’s a Fiesta in San Antonio. Literally. And not just because the Spurs won the NBA Draft Lottery, and with it the rights to draft Victor Wembanyama, although Corey Robinson says that has added to the party along the River Walk — with some Afro-Cuban All-Stars music.

In this latest episode of the PBT Extra Podcast, Robinson and Kurt Helin from NBC Sports talk about why landing in San Antonio is a win for Wembanyama as well as the Spurs, how starting his career under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich is a good thing, and how the Spurs should be patient with their build-out around a franchise cornerstone. Then the pair discuss how the lottery was a win for the Hornets and Trail Blazers, but not so much for the Pistons.

From there they discuss Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and what to take away from the Nuggets’ dominant start and the Lakers’ comeback. Then they get into the Eastern Conference Finals, where they agree the Heat will bring it and question how much they should trust the Celtics.

All that plus Doc Rivers getting fired, what’s next for Ja Morant and the Grizzlies, and a discussion of heroes and villains.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at

Morant takes responsibility for actions in statement, Silver says he was ‘shocked’ by video


Ja Morant made his first public statement Tuesday since he was seen apparently brandishing a gun in a live stream on social media for a second time.

The Grizzlies acted quickly to suspend Morant from team activities — something relatively easy for Memphis to do in the offseason when there are no team activities — and the NBA said it was investigating the incident. League sources expect the NBA to come down much harder than Morant’s eight-game suspension in March when he flashed a gun on his own live stream while in a club outside Denver.

“I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people who have supported me,” Morant said in the new statement released Tuesday. “This is a journey and I recognize there is more work to do. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full accountability for my actions. I’m committed to continuing to work on myself.”

This statement sounds very similar to the one he released in March after that gun incident. However, that was not the first incident surrounding Morant, who is involved in a civil lawsuit after he allegedly punched and flashed a gun at a teenage player following a pickup game at Morant’s home in Memphis (Morant has countersued in that case). Then some of Morant’s associates were banned from the FedEx Forum in Memphis following a run-in with members of the Indiana Pacers traveling party that included a red laser (the kind often associated with a gunsight) being pointed at Pacers personnel (the NBA investigation found no evidence of weapons at the scene). Through all these incidents, the Memphis Grizzlies organization had conversations with Morant trying to guide him.

Morant admitted his off-the-court actions impacted the Grizzlies organization, and they were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Lakers.

After the March gun incident, Morant went into counseling in Florida saying later he needed to learn how to “cope with stress in a positive way.” He said that moment did not show who he truly is. Morant met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and that time to discuss his actions.

Before the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday, Silver told Malika Andrews of ESPN he was caught off guard by the moment.

“Honestly, I was shocked when I saw, this weekend, that video,” Silver said in the televised interview. “We’re in the process of investigating it and we’ll figure out exactly what happened as best as we can. The video’s a bit grainy and all that, but I’m assuming the worst. We’ll figure out exactly what happened there.”

Morant did not break any laws by flashing the weapons on social media, a popular trend. However, it is an image issue for his employer — both the Grizzlies and the NBA — that ties into decades-old image concerns by league officials.

Morant will likely face a lengthy suspension without pay for this gun incident. Flashing a gun in March cost him $668,659 in direct pay, but it also saw PowerAde delay and scale back its endorsement campaign with him. Nike released its first signature shoe with Morant in April, but it was done in a more low-key manner that is often associated with the release of a signature shoe. Morant’s suspension and how it impacted the Grizzlies was one factor in him not making an All-NBA team this season, keeping his new contract at $194.3 million over five years — had he made an All-NBA team that would have jumped $39 million.

Morant will likely miss out on his first checks from that new contract, set to pay him $33.5 million next season, because of the suspension expected to come down from the league office.

Grizzlies Desmond Bane undergoes surgery on right big toe

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Five
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There was speculation around the Grizzlies since the All-Star break (if not earlier) that the toe injury suffered by Desmond Bane — initially back before Thanksgiving — was still bothering him.

Tuesday we got confirmation this was true. The Grizzlies announced that Bane underwent surgery on the big toe on his right foot, but that he would be back in time for the start of next season.

This is a fracture of one of the two small bones at the base of the big toe in the ball of the foot. For obvious reasons, it causes pain to walk, let alone run up and down a hardwood court.

Bane initially injured his foot early in the season, on Nov. 11 against the Timberwolves, and he missed 17 games after that letting the bones heal (it was officially listed at the time as a sprained toe).

Bane averaged 21.5 points (shooting 40.8% from 3), plus five rebounds and 4.4 assists per game last season.

The Grizzlies may need Bane to take on a larger role at the start of next season in Memphis, with a possible suspension looming over Ja Morant after his latest flashing of a gun on social media, and with the likelihood Dillon Brooks will not be back in Memphis next season.