Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. says Grizzlies ‘just gotta navigate’ Ja Morant’s suspension
- Ja Morant was handed a 25-game suspension for flashing a firearm on video
- He can’t participate in public team activities, including preseason games
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Memphis Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson Jr. insisted he and his teammates will navigate the start of the NBA season without suspended Ja Morant.
The Grizzlies will have to cope without Morant for the first 25 games of the upcoming season after he was suspended by the league for flashing a firearm on an Instagram live video.
Jackson conceded that it will be a tough challenge without the 2020 Rookie of the Year available but insisted that Memphis would find a way to push through.
‘We just gotta navigate it,’ Jackson told Tim Bontemps of ESPN ahead of Team USA’s exhibition Monday vs. Puerto Rico with the FIBA World Cup on tap.
‘Obviously, we know that not having Ja is a real big hole to fill, but, you know, he’s not, it’s not like he’s not gonna be around.
Jaren Jackson Jr. (L) insisted the Grizzlies will navigate Ja Morant’s (R) suspension
Morant was suspended 25 games by the NBA after flashing a firearm in a video back in May
‘He’s gonna give us all the tools to be able to get that done.’
Morant, who will turn 24 on August 10, was suspended for 25 games without pay by the NBA for ‘conduct detrimental to the league.’
He posed with a firearm in a car during an Instagram live video back in May. It was the second such incident with the league also suspending him for eight games in March after he flashed a gun in a Denver-area nightclub.
He is ineligible to participate in any public league or team activities, including preseason games, while suspended and must meet certain conditions before returning to play.
The Grizzlies acquired long-time Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart as part of a three-team deal that saw them ship Tyus Jones to Washington.
Smart is expected to fill in for Morant in his absence as Memphis’s starting point guard.
Jackson has already been in touch with last year’s Defensive Player of the Year and is excited to welcome the new addition to the franchise.
‘Oh, it’s dope,’ Jackson said of the Smart addition. ‘I texted him already. It’s great to have someone like that who can play both ends, who’s been in a championship environment.
‘We know what he brings to a team, that passion, that heart, and he knows a lot about the game as well. His mind is gonna be working great for the locker room, all that type of stuff. So, great addition.’
Back in March, Morant appeared to hold up a gun in an Instagram Live video at a Denver club
Memphis acquired Marcus Smart (center) from Boston and he is expected to fill in for Morant
The Grizzlies will begin training camp in October but in the meantime Jackson is focused on Team USA.
Jackson looks set to start as the USA’s center after training camp wrapped up Sunday.
‘Really good,’ Jackson said. ‘We’re getting to know each other. Haven’t played with each other ever. So getting to know different people. Everybody knows the game really well. Smart point guards, smart players, good coaches.
‘It’s been good. We’ve been playing really well together. A lot of good energy, good talking, the coaches loved it. So we’re ready to go.’