Ja Morant is going to get suspended. We just don’t know at the moment the exact nature of punishment Adam Silver’s office has seemingly in place already. Silver said that the NBA could have announced a decision on Morant as early as the first week of June but felt it would be better to let the NBA Finals series between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets finish before the grand revelation of the Memphis Grizzlies point guard’s fate.
Well, the NBA Finals series is over and done and Nikola Jokic is probably packing his bag as you read this before flying to Serbia and meeting his beloved horses. That means the NBA could be announcing Morant’s punishment any minute now.
Some speculate that Morant’s next suspension will be much longer than the eight games the league handed him last March during the first gun incident. If the suspension is going to span double-digit games from at least around 20 contests, it could be a back-breaker for the Grizzlies. It’s not going to be the end of the world for them. After all, the Grizzlies even played well and won more games than they lost during Morant’s March suspension.
However, Morant serving such prolonged punishment to start a season can be debilitating to the Grizzlies. After finishing last season No. 2 in the Western Conference standings, the Grizzlies have a target on their back right from the get-go of the next season and it’s going to be easier for rivals to pounce on Memphis if Morant’s not available, especially in the early goings when the team is still finding its rhythm and working out the kinks.
Memphis can be considered lucky for having arguably the best insurance at the point guard position in the NBA today with Tyus Jones still under the Grizzlies’ control for one more year. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond are still both on the roster. But not having Morant for a significant amount of time to begin the new NBA calendar will put the Grizzlies’ playoff equity at a greater risk. They’re still a good bet to make the postseason, but optimism can only get the Grizzlies so far without having their best lineup on the floor.
Breaking news: any lineup without Morant is never going to be optimal for Memphis.