NBA will allow Ja Morant to travel, practise with Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP):
Two-time All-Star point guard Ja Morant will be able to travel with the Memphis Grizzlies, practise with his teammates, and even take part in shootarounds throughout his 25-game suspension to start the NBA season, they confirmed yesterday.
Then the Grizzlies believe Morant will have to leave arenas a few hours before tip-off, under the terms that the NBA allows him to work under throughout his suspension.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Morant's second suspension in June, making clear the guard must stop his "alarming" habit of flashing guns on social media. The suspension came a month after a second video of Morant flashing a handgun was streamed online.
Zach Kleiman, the Grizzlies' president of basketball operations and general manager, said the approach is great for both Morant and the Grizzlies. The key will be Morant continuing to "stay on track", according to Kleiman.
"There are steps that I think Ja is continuing to take that are really positive and in the right direction," Kleiman said. "It's great to have him here. I think he's put himself in a position where there's no reason why he can't keep following through on this. So we're glad he's here and can't wait to have him back."
Morant isn't talking yesterday as part of the Grizzlies' media day. Kleiman called the suspension "appropriate", after the NBA draft and challenged the guard to change the behaviour that led to two bans in four months for the No. 2 overall pick in 2019 and the 2020 Rookie of the Year.
Coach Taylor Jenkins said they have a plan for Morant to help him outside his work with the Grizzlies. Now they know exactly what Morant can do with his teammates, which should have the guard ready for his return on December 19, when Memphis visits New Orleans.
"It's great having that clarity for sure," Jenkins said of learning the guardrails for what Morant will be allowed to do. "He's so impactful for our team."