Silver: NBA To Announce Discipline For Morant After Finals

Commissioner Adam Silver says the NBA’s investigation into Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has essentially concluded, but the league will announce his punishment soon after the NBA Finals wrap up, noting a desire to not detract from the Nuggets and Heat, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter links).

We’ve uncovered a fair amount of additional information,” Silver said of Morant’s latest gun incident. “We probably could have brought it to a head now, but we’ve made the decision that it would be unfair to these players and these teams to announce that decision in the middle of this series.”

The Score has the video of Silver discussing Morant (Twitter video link). Silver said a “history of prior acts, the individual player’s history” and “the seriousness of the conduct” all factored into the league’s decision, adding that it was mostly a judgment call. He added that the National Basketball Players Association concurred with the decision to wait until after the Finals.

Derek Bodner of and Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group are among the reporters who point out (Twitter links) that if the goal was to not detract from the Finals, it’s bizarre that Silver chose to speak publicly about Morant’s status and dangle the carrot, so to speak, without an official announcement. A simple “no comment” may have sufficed.

Morant, the former Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star, was suspended indefinitely by Memphis last month while the NBA investigated a social media video after he appeared to brandish a gun in an Instagram Live video that went viral. The incident came less than two-and-a-half months after Morant flashed a gun at a Denver-area strip club while streaming on Instagram Live. That video, which immediately prompted an investigation from the NBA, eventually led to an eight-game suspension.

Morant’s live stream in March was part of a series of troubling off-court incidents allegedly involving the 23-year-old, who punched a 17-year-old during a pickup game last summer, was accused of threatening a security guard at a Memphis mall, and was reportedly involved in a confrontation with members of the Pacers’ traveling party after a January game.

The 23-year-old hasn’t faced any criminal charges for those past incidents or either of his gun-related video streams, but the NBA has significant latitude to fine or suspend its players for conduct it deems detrimental to the league.

It seems likely that Morant will face a harsher penalty from the league this time around, not only for repeating the behavior that earned him his previous suspension, but for making the league office look foolish for any lenience it may have shown last time.

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