Ja Morant has conditions for Grizzlies return hazily outlined by head coach Taylor Jenkins
Ja Morant remains away from the Memphis Grizzlies, and the conditions for his return remain hazy as ever.
When asked by reporters, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins declined to share specifics for what Morant needs to do to play for the team again, but did allude to specific steps the 23-year-old All-Star needs to accomplish. Jenkins had previously announced Morant would miss at least the next four games.
From ESPN's Tim MacMahon:
"I can't share details. There's definitely steps that are going to need to be met personally and professionally as he deals with some stuff personally to get better. Then obviously the expectations on the team, he's going to have some things that he's going to have to clear to know what the expectations are when he does return. Again, he's out at least the next four games.
"I know everyone wants to know what's this going to be. It's the hot topic for sure, but he's taking time. His responsibility to get better personally — that's a big factor in this. And also, his responsibility to the team is something we're addressing with him. He's fully on board and has been communicative with our group."
The hesitation from the Grizzlies to provide any firm timetable underscores how much work the team thinks he still has to do.
Since Morant was suspended by the 38-26 Grizzlies, the team has lost two games to the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Ja Morant has had troubling year with Grizzlies
Morant was already on shaky ground before his now-infamous social media appearance with what appeared to be a gun at a nightclub. Earlier that week, Morant was reported to have allegedly assaulted a teenager and threatened him with a gun during a pick-up game at his house last summer and, in a separate incident, allegedly threatened the head of security at a Memphis mall.
There was also a reported incident involving his entourage and Indiana Pacers staffers, which ended with the staffers claiming someone in Morant's SUV had aimed a red laser, believed by a security guard to be a gun, at them after a Grizzlies game.
The nightclub incident proved to be the final straw for Morant. The Grizzlies suspended him within hours of the video spreading on social media, while the NBA announced it was investigating the incident.
Morant later issued an apology, saying he would take time away from basketball to learn better ways of dealing with stress and work on his well-being:
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down," it 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.”
Morant avoided criminal charges after police were unable to find sufficient evidence, but he clearly still has other issues to handle.