NBA. Grizzlies’ Ja Morant begins counseling program

FILE – Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 23, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant is receiving counseling through a program in Florida, ESPN reported Monday night.

Morant indicated he was seeking help with “better methods of dealing with stress and my general well-being,” prompting him to take a leave of absence from the team, according to the report.

Morant, 23, has missed Memphis’ last five games, including the Grizzlies’ 104-88 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. He doesn’t have a timetable for his return yet, but Memphis announced Morant will not return ahead of the team’s game against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

The trip to Florida comes after a series of incidents where Morant’s behavior has been troubling, most notably his actions on Instagram Live on March 4 at a Denver nightclub. Moranti was seen brandishing a gun after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Nuggets, and the NBA is now investigating the incident.

After the live broadcast, Morant deactivated his Instagram and Twitter pages.

Officials in the Memphis organization have also said publicly that Morant will be held accountable for his questionable decision-making and behavior.

“I am sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, colleagues, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” Morant said in a statement. “I’m going to take some time to get help and work on learning better ways to deal with stress and my overall well-being.”

A two-time All-Star, Morant is averaging 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 53 games this season. Last summer, he signed a five-year, $231 million contract extension that will begin in the 2023-24 season.


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