The NBA has been investigating Ja Morant’s behavior recently, as the Grizzlies point guard has been at the center of two separate incidents involving guns since March. Commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday that the league has decided on a punishment for Morant—who was previously suspended for eight games during the 2022–23 regular season—after finding “additional information,” but will wait to announce any discipline until after the NBA Finals.
Regardless of the league’s decision, ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins said he thinks the best possible move for Morant might be to get out of Memphis.
“I believe he is going to be in the league for a very, very, very long time,” Perkins said. “But if another incident like this happens…I’m ready to say right now that I think Ja Morant, it might be best for him to actually get out of Memphis and go to a different organization for his own well-being.”
.@KendrickPerkins reacts to the latest on Ja Morant:— First Take (@FirstTake) June 2, 2023
"If another incident like this happens ... I'm ready to say right now that I think Ja Morant, it might be best for him to actually get out of Memphis and go to a different organization for his own well-being." pic.twitter.com/7TEuWpFmHi
Perkins continued by detailing the unique culture for the African American community in Memphis but also implying that the city’s culture may be a distraction for Morant.
“For Ja Morant, in my opinion, I actually think it would be better for him in another city, on another team, having another change of scenery, where he can actually lock in on the game of basketball and lock in on his family,” Perkins said.
While Morant has faced scrutiny for his involvement in these incidents, his new shoes were released and sold out almost immediately. Perkins mentioned this shows how popular Morant is and how important it is for him to be a good role model.
“So many African Americans look up to him,” Perkins said. “I’m in AAU basketball every single weekend, I got two sons that play. They’ve got Ja Morants on they feet.”
Morant is signed long-term in Memphis, and the point guard has promised to try and improve as a person and not repeat his recent mistakes as the face of the Grizzlies.