After leaving a counseling program in Florida, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in New York on Wednesday and now awaits the league’s findings in a probe into his handling of a firearm at a suburban Denver nightclub earlier this month, sources told ESPN.
Once the league makes Morant’s next steps clear, he is expected to start ramping up on a return to the Grizzlies’ season, sources said.
Morant has been seeking assistance for what he described in a statement as a need “to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being,” and that’s taken him out of Memphis on a leave from the team, sources said. Morant entered into a counseling program shortly after making the announcement.
The franchise announced that Morant, 23, would be out at least through Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat, the sixth straight game he’s missed. The Grizzlies said that they would continue to prioritize Morant’s desire and need to get assistance after a series of concerning incidents that culminated with him brandishing a gun at a suburban Denver nightclub on his Instagram live feed on March 4.
The NBA opened an ongoing investigation into the matter and the meeting with Silver on Wednesday is believed to be a final step in that process, sources said.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is a former Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player for one of the ascending franchises in the league. Before the Grizzlies’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that, “Ja’s fully engaged in this process and ready for whatever comes after the next two games.”
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 a.m. ET, hours after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets last Saturday. Morant could be seen holding up a handgun with his left hand. Morant deactivated both his Instagram and Twitter accounts later that day.
In a statement, Morant said he takes “full responsibility for my actions last night.”
“I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” the statement read. “I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Nike, who has a signature shoe line with Morant, backed the Grizzlies star in a statement shortly thereafter.
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs,” the statement read. “We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.