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NBA | Mar 15

More Trouble for Ja Morant

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies | Ezra shaw/getty images/afp

Ja Morant’s situation has escalated quickly, and it seems as though something new comes to light every day. As a matter of fact, as we’re writing this piece, the NBA has announced an eight-game suspension for Morant.

Charges of public violence, waving his gun on Instagram, and now images from the club he was in with alcohol, girls, and cash raining from the ceiling, show that the young NBA star is more than meets the eye.

For many, the image Ja portrayed was that of an innocent young man, a boy of humble and simple origins who, thanks to his spectacular ability and a dash of luck, made an astronomical leap to the NBA.

Now NBA news confirms that Morant has been caught up in the pleasures of fame and money, sending him on a downward spiral. I am not judging him; it is likely that many of us, seeing ourselves with an income of $1 million a month, would go a little crazy and unleash the fun without measuring the consequences.

“You’re taking a path that you don’t need to. You don’t need something tragic and catastrophic to happen to give you the mistake you make,” FS1 analyst Shannon Sharpe told Morant.

Public enemy No.1

Morant has become public enemy number 1, at least for the NBA, which has to take care of the league’s image and cannot afford to have someone with this gangsta attitude in its ranks.

Ja has been suspended and is in Florida rehabilitating. It is unknown when he could return, and the NBA rumors speculate that the season is over for Morant and the Grizzlies, who see their chances of advancing to the playoffs growing dim without Morant.

Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said that the entire organization is following up and supporting Ja, but does not know when he will be able to return to the team. “We’re in touch with him every single day. It’s staff; it’s teammates. He’s still a huge part of what we do. As I said the other day, we love him; we want what’s best for him, we support him. I’m not going to ever share what our conversations are.”

The financial coup

This whole Morant situation could represent a severe financial blow for him.

Reports suggest that he could lose up to $30 million in bonus income if he fails to be either the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or an All-NBA selection this season.

Many speculate that Ja will miss the remainder of the season, making it unlikely that he would make MVP or Defensive Player. Although making one of the three All-NBA teams is still possible, it will be up to voters to determine if the suspension affects his chances of being named since, at least so far this season, his numbers support him being in the selection.

Wrap it up

In 53 games this season, he has averaged 27.1 points, 8.2 assists, 6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game, shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three-point range.

If none of the awards mentioned before are reached, Morant’s contract extension, which begins next season, could go from a potential $233.1 million for five years to $194.3 million. Which is still a crapload of money, but for an elite player, it’s a severe blow to his finances and overall value.

In the case of sponsors like Nike, Morant’s main partner, they have shown their support for the player, and for the moment, they would not be parting ways. Nike issued the following message, “We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support the prioritization of his well-being of him.”

But don’t be overconfident; remember Nike cut ties with Kyrie Irving in 2022 after he made some controversial statements. If things with Morant continue to escalate, it is possible that the brand could withdraw its support, which would be one more nail in the coffin for Ja’s public image.

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