Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, stated on Thursday that the latest penalty, if any, that the league intends to impose on Memphis shooter Ja Morant for his second instance of showing a pistol on social media would be published shortly after the conclusion of the finals. Morant’s offense occurred on April 1.
Silver did not elaborate on the nature of the punishments, and he did not even confirm whether or not Morant would be available to play when the new season begins. Morant was given an eight-game suspension by the NBA in March for an incident in which he recorded himself on Instagram flashing a gun in a club in a suburb of Denver. Morant was also given a suspension by the Grizzlies last month after another video showed Morant displaying what seemed to be a gun once again.
Silver stated that the league had uncovered additional information during the ongoing investigation; nonetheless, the decision was made to refrain from letting the upcoming wave of Morant news distract from the NBA Finals.
“We probably could have brought it to a head now,” Silver said, “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 this series, to announce the results of that investigation.” “We probably could have brought it to a head now,” Silver said. “But we made the decision.”
Morant’s initial ban resulted in a loss of almost $669,000 in compensation. The second incident was broadcast live on the Instagram account of Davonte Pack, who is associated with Morant. In the video, Morant is seen sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle, and he gives the impression of momentarily brandishing a firearm. However, during the fraction of a second — or possibly even less — than the video showed Morant holding what could be interpreted as a weapon, 111 people were watching it.
Silver put it, “In assessing what discipline is appropriate if that’s the case, we look at both the history of prior acts, but then we look at the individual player’s history as well as the seriousness, of course, of the conduct.” “In assessing what discipline is appropriate, if that’s the case,” Silver said. “Everything you’ve mentioned is taken into consideration. It’s not an exact science by any means. It comes down to the judgment of me and the other employees here in the league office.”
Since the beginning of 2023, there have been at least three known NBA investigations revolving around Ja Morant and the possible involvement of weapons in those incidents.
Following an altercation on January 29 in Memphis, which Morant said as having resulted in Pack, whom Morant refers to as “my brother,” receiving a one-year suspension from attending Grizzlies home games, an investigation into Morant’s behavior was conducted.
That incident occurred after a game in which the Indiana Pacers were defeated. Citing unnamed sources, The Indianapolis Star and USA Today reported that multiple members of the Indiana Pacers saw a red dot pointed at them while they were near the loading dock where their bus was located. Additionally, The Athletic reported that a Pacers security guard believed the laser was attached to a gun.
The National Basketball Association has stated that its inquiry has discovered no proof that anyone was threatened with a weapon, despite the fact that it has confirmed that some persons, who have not been named, have been banned from the arena.
Silver expressed his desire that this experience would catalyze change in Morant.
Silver says, “He seems to be an excellent young man in terms of my dealings with him.” “It is very evident that he has committed a few errors. But he’s still young, and I’m hoping that after we conclude at the end of our process as to the suitable punishment, it won’t simply be about the punishment. It is time to figure out what the players’ association, his team, he, and the people around him will do to improve the situation moving forward. In the end, that is what should be prioritized the most.
The matchup in the NBA Finals can no longer be predicted even a few months in advance, and Silver does not in the least bit dislike this reality.
Silver made these remarks right before the first game of the championship series between Denver and Miami. He stated that the fact that these two clubs made it to the finals “speaks a lot to the competitiveness in this league.” Within the last six seasons of the league, there have been nine different clubs competing for the championship, making this the sixth different finals showdown that has taken place.
During the annual pre-finals talk that Silver gives, he mentioned that there were still 26 teams in contention for postseason play when there was just over a week left. That sets a new high mark. “That’s a record.”
Both Denver and Miami are making their first appearances in the championship game. Miami is the second team to get there as a No. 8 seed, and they are the first team to get there after having to survive the play-in round to qualify for the playoffs. In addition, Denver is making its debut in the championship game. According to Nielsen, Denver is ranked No. 16 in market size, while South Florida is ranked No. 18. This makes for a battle between two clubs in the middle of the Pack in the NBA market.
Silver remarked, “That strikes me as rather interesting.”
It is not uncommon to have the same team or even two from the same group, advance to the championship game year after year.
The Golden State Warriors faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals on four separate occasions between 2015 and 2018; the Miami Heat reached the NBA Finals in each of the four years between 2011 and 2014, and they faced off against the San Antonio Spurs in the last two of those years. The Los Angeles Lakers competed in the NBA Finals in the three years between 2008 and 2010, including two matches against the Boston Celtics.
Seven teams entered the NBA season with a higher chance of winning the championship than Miami, while eight teams entered the season with a better opportunity than Denver.
“Competition is great for the league,” Silver stated.