NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made a decision regarding the disciplinary action against Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. However, he has decided to wait until after the NBA Finals to announce the punishment. Morant was suspended by the Grizzlies on May 14, pending league review, after a social media video showed him brandishing a firearm. The NBA suspended Morant for eight games in March after a similar incident. Silver stated that the league considers the “history of prior acts” and “the individual player’s history” when assessing discipline.
Silver indicated that he would announce the outcome of Morant’s investigation shortly after the conclusion of the NBA Finals. He explained that the league had uncovered additional information since he was asked about the situation and could have brought it to a head now. However, the players association agreed that it would be unfair to announce the results of the investigation in the middle of the series. Morant has been suspended indefinitely by the Grizzlies, and nothing would have changed in the next few weeks. Therefore, it seemed better to park any public announcement at the moment.
Asked if Morant’s eight-game suspension was too light in hindsight, Silver said that Morant came across as “heartfelt and serious” during their March meeting. He added that it was not just about the discipline, but also about creating better circumstances going forward.
Other Significant Issues
Silver addressed some other significant issues during his annual news conference before the NBA Finals opener. These include:
Investigated Ref Not at Finals: Veteran referee Eric Lewis was not among the 12 officials assigned to work the Finals because of the league office’s investigation into his social media activity. The league is looking into whether Lewis used a “burner” account on Twitter to defend himself and other officials from critiques, which would be a violation of league policy. Silver said that the investigation was ongoing, and it remains ongoing, so it would not be appropriate for him to work in these Finals.
Local TV Conundrum: Several NBA teams, including the Western Conference champion Denver Nuggets, have had major problems with local television audiences due to disputes between regional sports networks and cable companies, as well as other carriers. Silver referred to this problem as “a terrible issue” with no simple solution, noting that it could be addressed as part of the NBA’s negotiations with its national television partners over the two years remaining on that deal.
Postseason Awards Game Minimum: On the 65-game minimum for players to be eligible for postseason awards in the future, Silver said that the league is putting an incentive in place for players to play more games in the regular season. He added that there is no magic to the 65, but they are trying to take into account games that are going to be missed due to injuries and occasionally necessary for a player to rest. Silver stated that this was negotiated with the players association, and everyone has an interest in the league putting its best foot forward in a highly competitive regular season.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made a decision regarding the disciplinary action against Ja Morant, and he will announce the outcome shortly after the conclusion of the NBA Finals. The league considers the “history of prior acts” and “the individual player’s history” when assessing discipline. Silver also addressed other significant issues, including the investigation into a veteran referee’s social media activity, local TV audience problems, and the postseason awards game minimum.