When asked about the Grizzlies star during his pre-NBA Finals news conference, Commissioner Adam Silver said his office had discovered "a fair amount of additional information" on Morant and would have already made a decision about him had it not been for the playoffs:
"In terms of the timing, we’ve uncovered a fair amount of additional information since I was asked about the situation. We probably could have brought it to a head now, but we made the decision — and I believe the players association agrees with us — that it would be unfair to these players and these teams in the middle of this series to announce the results of that investigation.”
Silver went on to say the Morant decision will be announced "shortly after the conclusion of the Finals." He also said an individual player's history is considered while determining a player's discipline, which probably isn't good news for Morant.
Ja Morant's backstory won't help him with the NBA
The All-Star was suspended by the league for eight games earlier this year after he went on Instagram Live while holding a handgun at a strip club. That incident followed reports of multiple gun-related incidents involving Morant.
The initial suspension was presented by the Grizzlies and the NBA as an opportunity for Morant to work on his mental health, something the player himself discussed when he returned. Here's how Silver described Morant's behavior after being sidelined in the statement announcing the suspension:
"He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court."
Apparently, the lesson didn't take for Morant. He was seen on Instagram Live once again holding a gun on May 14 and was suspended indefinitely by his team before the day was over.
Grizzlies star Ja Morant was allegedly seen holding a gun on an IG Live yesterday.pic.twitter.com/bqvwbwgd9m
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 14, 2023
Morant responded with his own statement of apology, as well as a series of cryptic Instagram posts so concerning they resulted in police officers being sent to his home for a welfare check.
Meanwhile, Silver appeared on television to say he was "shocked" by Morant's latest incident and promised another NBA investigation. When asked Thursday if he felt Morant's initial punishment was too light given what happened after, Silver conceded the discipline didn't have the effect the league hoped while maintaining he, along with the NBPA and the Grizzlies, still want to support him:
"If it had been a 12-game suspension instead of an eight-game suspension, would that have mattered? I know it seemed based on precedent, and he's represented, and we want to be fair in terms of the league, it seemed appropriate at the time. That's all I can say. Maybe by definition to the extent we've all seen the video that it appears he's done it again, I guess you could say maybe not.
"But I don't think we yet know what it will take to change his behavior. Same thing I said at the time; he seems to be a fine young man. In terms of my dealings with him, I think he's clearly made some mistakes, but he's young, and I'm hoping now — once we conclude at the end of our process what the appropriate discipline is, that it's not just about the discipline, it's about now what we, the Players Association, his team and he and the people around him are going to do to create better circumstances going forward."
It appears likely Morant's second suspension will be significantly longer than eight games. What happens after will be up to him.