How does Ja Morant suspension impact the Dallas Mavericks?
By Tyler Watts
The Dallas Mavericks are facing a crucial offseason. They missed the playoffs for the first time since Luka Doncic’s rookie season after a late-season collapse that saw them win just eight of their final 25 games. The Mavs desperately need to improve their roster if they want to jump back into contention and keep superstar Luka Doncic happy.
They are not the only team facing a massive summer. The Bucks, Suns, Warriors, Clippers, Sixers, Raptors, and Bulls are all eager to shake things up in hopes of making a deep playoff run in 2024. More teams will be added to that list as they get eliminated from the postseason, but the Memphis Grizzlies may have joined for a different reason.
Just two months after serving an eight-game suspension for showing a gun on social media, Ja Morant again displayed one on Instagram Live. He was quickly suspended by the team as the league continues to review the incident. This is just the latest in a string of troubles for Morant that could have a league-wide impact next season.
Memphis Grizzlies will struggle to contend without Ja Morant
The Grizzlies had the second-best regular season record in the Western Conference for two straight years, but they were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Lakers this season. The franchise quickly informed Dillon Brooks that he would not return (subscription required), and Memphis is hoping to upgrade on the wing. They are already over the cap, so the Grizzlies will have to add via trades or the mid-level exception.
Things get harder without their star player for an extended stretch. Memphis was 11-10 this season when Ja Morant was out. All the teams with nearly a .500 record were in the Play-In Tournament in the loaded Western Conference. If Morant has to miss at least 15 games via suspension plus a handful for injury, they could quickly be without their best player for a third of the season.
That will make things tough and certainly put the Grizzlies behind the eight-ball when looking to make a deep playoff run in 2024.