NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters on Saturday that he's planning to meet with Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant ahead of the All-Star's return from his 25-game suspension. Silver said that Morant, who is eligible to return on Dec. 19, has 'complied with everything' the league has asked of him.
Silver was in Las Vegas for the inaugural In-Season Tournament championship and held a short press conference during which he addressed a number of topics around the league. Here are his extended comments on the Morant situation:
"Yes, I have been monitoring the situation closely, and him. In fact, we intend to have a check-in this week directly, Ja and I. But folks in the league office, together with Ja and his team and the Players Association, have been in regular contact, essentially weekly. There have been those checkpoints.
"We've, together, laid out a program for him over the last several weeks, and to the best of my knowledge, he's complied with everything he's been asked to do. As I said, we'll talk at least once this week before he comes back, and we will review the program and make sure the conditions are in place for him to be successful going forward."
In June, Morant was suspended for the first 25 games of this season for repeatedly brandishing firearms.
The first instance occurred in March, when Morant was seen holding a gun at a strip club outside of Denver. Morant was suspended for eight games and went to a counseling program in Florida. Shortly after, the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs, and Morant was again seen displaying a gun on Instagram.
"Ja Morant's decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games," Silver said at the time of the suspension. "The potential for other young people to emulate Ja's conduct is particularly concerning. Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated."
In addition, Morant has been the subject of a number of controversial incidents in recent years, including a fight with a teenager over a pick-up basketball game. Recently,to testify in a civil lawsuit related to the case, in which he and his friend, Davonte Pack, are accused of beating up a then-17-year-old. An initial hearing is set for Dec. 11, just over a week before Morant's expected return.
The Grizzlies (6-15) will travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans, when Morant is expected to return on Dec. 19.