As anticipated, the reigning NBA MVP, Nuggets center Nikola Jokić, has been suspended by the NBA following an on-court altercation with Heat forward Markieff Morris in last night’s 113-96 blowout Denver win.
The league announced (Twitter link) that Jokić will miss one game after shoving Morris from behind and giving him whiplash, though Morris had initially instigated contact with a mild shoulder check seconds prior. Both players were instantly ejected with Flagrant 2 foul calls.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Jokić, a three-time All-Star, will lose $210,417 in salary as a result of his single-game suspension.
The NBA has also opted to fine Morris $50K for his role in the dispute. A bit more surprisingly, All-Star Heat small forward (and current 2022 MVP candidate) Jimmy Butler was dinged to the tune of $30K for “attempting to escalate” the conflict between the two players and “failing to comply with an NBA Security interview” about the incident, per the league’s statement. Though players from both the Nuggets and Heat rushed to the aid of their respective comrades, the league opted to single Butler out.
Jokić will thus miss the Nuggets’ next contest, a home matchup against the Pacers tomorrow night. Denver head coach Michael Malone said earlier today that, provided Jokić indeed was suspended, Denver would look to feature forwards Jeff Green, JaMychal Green, and Aaron Gordon more in the paint. Malone also floated the possibility that little-used young centers Bol Bol and Zeke Nnaji would get some run.