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HomeNewsJa Morant set to join Grizzlies, NBA suspension ended

Ja Morant set to join Grizzlies, NBA suspension ended


Ja Morant’s eight game nba The suspension has ended and the two-time All-Star has rejoined the Memphis Grizzlies.

The dynamic guard was benched for Monday night’s game against Dallas, though it’s unclear exactly when he’ll play, coming earlier Wednesday. The Grizzlies announced Sunday that Morant would not play against the Mavericks due to a “return to competition reconditioning.”

He arrived on the court just before kickoff to a standing ovation from the Memphis crowd. He then patted some of his teammates and was part of the line greeting the starters as they prepared to kick off the game.

“It’s going to be a part of practice (Tuesday), and obviously we’re hopeful for Wednesday as long as everything is resolved medically,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said, adding that the delay is part of the “acceleration process.” ”.

The Grizzlies host Houston on Wednesday in the first of two straight games against the Rockets in Memphis.

The Grizzlies know Morant has been training, trying to get ready for this moment. Memphis was off Sunday after two straight victories, and Jenkins said he’d like Morant to practice or at least take some shooting practice before watching game action.

Morant first walked away from the team on March 4, hours after he went live on Instagram showing off a gun at a Colorado strip club after a game against the Denver Nuggets. He Grizzlies said on March 8 that Morant would be sidelined for four more games.

Morant met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in New York before the The NBA announced its suspension last week.including six games he had already missed.

The league’s investigation found that Morant was “holding a firearm while intoxicated” but did not prove that the weapon was Morant’s property “or that he exhibited it beyond a brief period.” The NBA also did not find that Morant had the gun with him on the flight from Memphis to Denver, or that he had the gun at any NBA facility.

Colorado police conducted their own investigation and concluded that there were no grounds to charge Morant with a crime. after investigating the circumstances surrounding the video.

Morant said in an ESPN interview that the gun was not his and that he takes full responsibility for his actions.

But the strip club incident wasn’t Morant’s first surprising move. He Grizzlies had been talking with Morant about his off-court conduct even before the March 4 incident.

“I can see the picture I painted of myself with my recent mistakes,” Morant told ESPN. “But going forward, I’m going to show everyone who Ja really is, what she’s about, and I’m going to change this narrative that everyone has.”

Morant, whose suspension cost him $669,000 in salary and possibly the chance to maximize the five-year contract he signed last July by making the All-NBA team, also has to continue working on himself away from basketball.

Morant said he received counseling during his suspension.

“He’s probably the first to tell you, ‘Nothing is going to change immediately overnight. I’m going to learn and grow, but I’m going to get the skills and the methods to do it both personally and professionally,” Jenkins said.

On the court, the Grizzlies are pleased with the growth of the 23-year-old Morant. After Memphis selected him with the second overall pick in 2019, he was named the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year and last year he won NBA Most Improved Player honors.

He is averaging 27.1 points and has six triple-doubles this season.

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He rejoins a Memphis team in the middle of a competitive postseason run. The Grizzlies, who were second in the Western Conference before the March 4 incident, are tied with Sacramento, four games behind West-leading Denver with 12 games remaining.

Jenkins knows Morant will be “very anxious” to reunite with his teammates, but the Grizzlies have a plan in place for his return.

Jenkins said it all starts with what’s on Morant’s head and heart.

“He’s doing a very good job recognizing the improvements he’s making,” the coach said, “and that he has to keep doing it.”

In his pregame remarks with Dallas on Monday, Jenkins seemed ready to move on as the Grizzlies gear up for the home stretch.

“Good first day back and I’m excited to have him back with the team,” Jenkins said.

Associated Press freelancer Clay Bailey contributed.

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