‘Basketball Will Take A Back Seat’ | Adam Silver Continues To Drop Hints About Pending Ja Morant Decision, But Does He Decide How Much Hoops Morant Needs To Play?

Basketball fans and the public in general soon will learn what measures the NBA will take to address recent actions by Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. Whether it’s a toy gun or not, basketball for Morant will take a back seat, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” Thursday morning. Morant’s camp has alleged that the gun he is seen waving in the Instagram video that has him in trouble was a toy.

Since his latest incident, Morant has been indefinitely suspended from all offseason team activities. It is the second time in three months Morant has been seen on social media with a gun.

He was suspended for eight games toward the end of the regular season because of three separate incidents where he and members of his party allegedly threatened others. In two of the three incidents, a gun was alleged to be present.

More Than Punishment

Silver has talked about the pending suspension over the last week, but has decided to wait until the conclusion of the NBA Finals to deliver the verdict. But his appearance on Patrick’s show suggests it will be more than just a suspension.

“I also think it’s important to point out that this is not just about disciplining him and crossing your fingers hoping it’s not a third time,” Silver said. “I recognize that he needs some assistance from the league office, his union, his team…My hope is that wherever we come out in terms of discipline, there is a an acceptance that we need to find ways to engage with each other going forward so that he can change the trajectory that he’s now on, which is not a positive one.

“I want to find a way where, frankly, he’s not being kicked to the curb, but basketball will take a back seat and first and foremost, we’re going to focus on him as a young man developing as a better person, as someone who is more responsible.”

If the NBA can develop some kind of program, this could be groundbreaking.

Can The NBA Set A New Precedent In Player Rehabilitation?

As it currently stands, the league and its franchises are not equipped to help players in circumstances like this. Sure they can advocate for treatment, counseling and therapy and even bring in people they vet. But that’s really it.

When a player is suspended, he is away from the team and the facility, so there is no in-person contact with coaches and teammates.

That means a player is on his own to go to whatever counseling sessions on his own and really spend time hopefully staying in shape but interacting with people outside of the franchise. Depending on the player, that could be a good or bad thing.

But if the league, union and Grizzlies can create some kind of program where Morant serves whatever punishment they deem necessary, they facilitate and even lead the help he’s getting, while somehow keeping him connected to the team that would be a first of its kind.

When people are at their lowest, they don’t need to be shunned or ostracized. They need to feel loved and a part of something.

Historically that has not been something the NBA has ever done. Maybe this situation will be different.

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