Although Commissioner Adam Silver intended to wait until the end of the NBA Finals to announce the news of Ja Morant‘s impending suspension in order to not distract from the league’s main event, this decision would ironically end up bringing far more media attention than otherwise expected. With the way things were handled, many expected Morant’s punishment to be extremely harsh, perhaps even missing over half of the 2023-24 season.
Gilbert Arenas may have set the precedent with his 50-game suspension back in 2010, but history seems to have been far kinder to Ja this time around. The budding superstar guard is set to miss just the first 25 games of next season’s campaign, which may sound like a lot, but it could have always been worse.
Morant may be the one being directly punished here, but he’s not alone in suffering the consequences of these mistakes.
The news of Ja Morant’s suspension likely removes one of the Bulls’ best trade targets from the table.
While I’m sure many Grizzlies fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing Morant would only miss a fraction of the season, this is still far from an ideal situation. This is especially true for Bulls fans, as this suspension will almost surely narrow down Chicago’s best options at the point guard position this summer.
That’s because, of course, Tyus Jones will now be bumped up into Memphis’ starting five following this news. With Morant out for the first 30% of the season, it’ll be up to Tyus to replace that crucial production and help keep the Grizzlies afloat in the meantime.
Last season, Tyus did an exceptional job of just that, and was a big reason why I think he deserves to become a starter for another team in the first place. In 22 games as a starter last season, Jones averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 assists, and 4 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the field and 41.5% from beyond the arc. With Tyus at the helm, the Grizzlies still managed to post a 13-9 record (on pace for 50 wins) even without their superstar guard around.
It’s for this reason I believed Jones would have been a perfect answer at the point guard position for the Bulls. I’ve been writing about this potential perfect match since last year’s trade deadline and how Tyus would be the ideal under-the-radar acquisition, but barring nothing short of a miracle, it now seems the Bulls will have to look elsewhere in free agency and on the trade block.