Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant reportedly attended a counseling program in Florida last week and there is currently no timetable for his return to court.
According to ESPN, Morant, 23, began the program Monday night after being suspended by the team for showing a gun during a livestream on his Instagram during a party at a strip club following a game against the Denver Nuggets.
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said Monday night before his team played the Dallas Mavericks, “There’s a lot of internal dialogue going on and obviously things are still going on at the league level that we’re communicating with.
“Ja is fully involved in this process and ready for whatever comes next.”
Memphis announced on March 4 that Morant would miss “at least the next two games” and gave a follow-up update on March 8 saying he would be absent “at least the next four games.”
Leaked images from the 23-year-old’s night out at the strip club showed him spending $50,000 that night while enjoying himself in a way one would expect at a venue like this.
Despite the linked images, the club’s owner, known as “Shotgun Willie’s,” was very pleased with Morant’s behavior throughout the night, despite the criticism and ridicule he faced.
“This boy, very young, was exceptionally respectful and sweet, and he wasn’t drinking,” Dunafon said. ‘We had [Denver] Nuggets and Broncos…come in and hit the girls quarters, be disrespectful and nasty. He is wonderful.”
Morant and his image have come under fire recently over multiple reports of off-court misdemeanors that have made him the NBA’s newest villain.
Prior to the strip club incident, Morant has come under fire after details emerged from a report of a lawsuit that said Morant and an employee had hit a teenager “12-13 times” after playing basketball at Morant’s home.
The news that Morant went into a house and came out after the beating with a gun in his waistband led to him being heavily criticized, although the 17-year-old allegedly threw and hit Morants with a basketball at close range, causing the fight provoked.
The teenager also reportedly told Morant that he would “set his house on fire like fireworks,” leading Morant to fear for the safety of himself and his family before exiting his home with a firearm.
Morant is known for being close to his family and his father and young daughter are often spotted on the sidelines during his games. He also recently bought a multi-million dollar home for his parents and younger sister.
The latest news of Morant’s extrajudicial altercations stemmed from a police investigation last September into an alleged assault after Morant, his mother and staff confronted a high school student who verbally abused Morant’s younger sister at a high school basketball game.
It was also reported that Morant and his associates clashed with a security guard at a local mall, leading to the security guard fearing for his safety after a member of the group mentioned that he waited for the security guard when he returned from the work went.
Additionally, Morant was subject to an NBA investigation after the Indiana Pacers accused Morant and his tour group of aiming a laser attached to a gun into the team’s bus following a post-game confrontation.
After the investigation, no evidence was found to support the claims that someone in the SUV Morant was driving in allegedly had any form of weapon, or that Morant was actually in the vehicle in question.
Considering Morant’s current villain arc, he recently saw the first of his many sponsorship deals turn against him when Coca-Cola decided to withdraw all of their ads featuring the Grizzlies fledgling star, despite only signing the deal 10 days before the decision had.
Grizzlies coach Jenkins recently revealed that the organization had also previously spoken to Morant about his behavior before the viral incident led to his absence from the team.
Veteran center Steven Adams also chaired a players-only meeting about being more disciplined about going out late if the team was out at the strip club the night before the incident.
Despite missing the face of their franchise, the Grizzles have fallen just one place from second to third in the NBA Western Conference rankings.
Memphis is tied with the Sacramento Kings as both teams have records of 40-26, but the Kings currently hold the tiebreaker.
The Grizzlies have become one of the West’s favorites this season, and if Morant is back on the team in time for the postseason, Memphis has a shot at a deep playoff run.