Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The suspension covers the six games he’s missed, including Wednesday at Miami. Morant is eligible to play Monday against Dallas, the same day he’s able to rejoin the Grizzlies in the team environment, although he won’t play in that night’s game as he needs to take some extra time to prepare physically for his return.
Morant met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in New York on Wednesday over his handling of a firearm at a suburban Denver nightclub earlier this month.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” said Silver in a statement. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him. He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court.”
The league said based on the information obtained during its investigation that it did not conclude that the gun at issue belonged to Morant, was brought by him into the nightclub or was displayed by him beyond a brief period. The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility, and the Colorado authorities did not find sufficient cause to charge Morant with a crime.
Morant has been seeking assistance for what he described in a statement as a need “to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being,” and that has taken him out of Memphis on a leave from the team, sources said. Morant entered a counseling program shortly after making the announcement.
The franchise had announced that Morant, 23, would be out at least through Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies said they would continue to prioritize Morant’s desire and need to get assistance after a series of concerning incidents that culminated with him brandishing a gun at the suburban Denver nightclub on his Instagram Live feed March 4.
The NBA opened an investigation into the matter, and the meeting with Silver on Wednesday was the final step in that process.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is a former Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player for one of the ascending franchises in the league. Before the Grizzlies’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that, “Ja’s fully engaged in this process and ready for whatever comes after the next two games.”
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 a.m. ET on March 4, hours after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday, March 3. Morant could be seen holding up a handgun with his left hand. Morant deactivated his Instagram and Twitter accounts later that day.
In a statement at the time, Morant said he took “full responsibility for my actions last night.”
“I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” the statement read. “I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Nike, which has a signature shoe line with Morant, backed the Grizzlies star in a statement shortly thereafter.
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs,” the statement read. “We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.