Ja Morant’s NBA season for 2023-24 is over, even though it had just begun. He started the season with a 25-game suspension for a second offense of inappropriate use of a firearm on social media. Morant played only nine games before sustaining a shoulder injury, which has led the Memphis Grizzlies to announce that he will be out for the remainder of the season. All he and the Grizzlies will have from 2023 to 2024 is his dunk against Victor Wembanyama and the buzzer-beater upon his return to the court.
According to a team press release, Morant suffered a shoulder injury during practice on Saturday. This is truly unfortunate. He has already faced the embarrassment and financial impact of the suspension, and now he will have months of rehab ahead of him. Additionally, his team will remain at the bottom of the standings.
The Grizzlies should just endure this entire season, trade their lottery pick for 2024 in the summer, and look forward to Morant returning to a better roster next fall. Making basketball decisions is the easy part. Figuring out how to keep Morant’s head in the right place until the start of the 2024 training camp will require a lot of brainstorming.
In the early hours before the second firearm incident, Morant posted on Xwitter: „I seem to be at my best when I’m going through it.“ In an interview with Taylor Rooks in 2021, Morant talked about the bad habit of not dealing with his emotions, which haunted him throughout 2020 when he was isolated in the Orlando bubble until the end of the season.
Adam Silver, the commissioner, who expressed concern years ago about how many players in his league were unhappy, stated that a program was being created for Morant, along with counseling, to help change his „trajectory.“ This is a time for the NBA and the Grizzlies to show him that their concern for him goes beyond just not wanting one of the league’s biggest stars to make them look bad. Since he will now be absent for a while for non-disciplinary reasons, both organizations need to approach Morant even more strongly than they did during the suspension.
Hopefully, the introduced program has helped him be more ready to speak up when he’s not feeling well. However, there is no 8-game or 25-game recipe for his well-being. It’s an ongoing process.
Lastly, there was a setback. This time, it had nothing to do with his behavior. He was just unlucky. An unfortunate circumstance ended his 2023/24 season after just nine games. When players are sidelined due to injury, many feel isolated.
After everything Morant went through last season – the civil lawsuit regarding his alleged assault on a 17-year-old in 2022 is still pending – what will surely not help him is a sense of loneliness. Hopefully, the league and the Grizzlies are already working to help this young man who has been through a lot.