Potential Ja Morant suspension would have negative side effects for Bulls

Ja Morant, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

Point guard problems were the story of the season for the Chicago Bulls this year, as they repeatedly struggled in the face of not having a point guard to set the table on offense. The Bulls were not the only team with point guard problems this year though, as the Memphis Grizzlies have arguably an even more pressing problem on their hands.

Their problems are of an entirely different nature, however, as their blossoming star guard Ja Morant just can’t seem to keep his name out of the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Following up on an impressive 2021-22 season and taking the eventual champions to six games, many had big expectations for Morant this year.

No one could have anticipated just how disastrous this season would have gone for Ja, but not for reasons pertaining to the court. This season was plagued with stories of Morant getting into a physical altercation with a minor, flashing guns at strip clubs and on social media live feeds, and pointing lasers at opposing teams.

Just when he seemed to be on the brink of superstardom, Morant’s self-destructive behavior has cost him tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars already, and it seems that he has yet to have made a sincere or genuine attempt to atone for his actions. As a result, many in the media believe Morant is due for a lengthy suspension at the start of the 2023-24 season.

A lengthy suspension for Ja Morant would make improving even harder for the Chicago Bulls this offseason.

ESPN’s Tim McMahon ripped into Morant and explained how his decisions may have repercussions for the league as a whole.

"“I’m curious what stance [the players association] might take, I’ve talked to agents of other superstar players and they’re pissed off too. Because this is not just a bad look for Ja Morant. This is not just a bad look for the Memphis Grizzlies. This reflects poorly on the entire league… So the players’ association thing will be interesting because it’s not just the league office, it’s not just the Memphis Grizzlies. Other teams are livid about this and other agents are livid about this because they feel it reflects poorly on everybody.”"

The Player’s Association will definitely be concerned with keeping their pockets safe in the fallout of all this, but they’re not the only ones who stand to be negatively impacted here. If Morant does receive a suspension in the range of 30+ games, the Grizzlies will absolutely need a quality point guard to step up and hold things down until he returns.

Fortunately for the Grizzlies, they have arguably the NBA’s best backup point guard in Tyus Jones. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Tyus is exactly the type of player this team could use to fill the void left by Lonzo Ball. If you’ve been reading here for a while now, you should know that we’ve long been big advocates for bringing Jones to the Bulls.

With Tyus entering a contract year next season, it would make sense for the Grizzlies to try to recoup any value possible before he decides to bolt in free agency for a team with an opening at starting point guard (like Chicago). Now that Morant’s max extension has kicked in and Desmond Bane will also likely need to be paid a max of his own next season, Memphis simply doesn’t have the money to throw around to bring Tyus back.

This is precisely why I believe Jones was a realistic trade target for the Bulls, but now that Morant seems to be on a collision course with a suspension, they’d likely prefer to keep Tyus around and deal with his free agency when the time comes. For the Bulls, they’ll need to look elsewhere if they want to finally add a playmaker that can help this team reach its full potential.

Next. 5 controversial free agents the Bulls should avoid. dark