Memphis Grizzlies star makes feelings clear on Ja Morant's early season absence

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Jaren Jackson Jr has spoken about how the Memphis Grizzlies will cope during Ja Morant
Jaren Jackson Jr has spoken about how the Memphis Grizzlies will cope during Ja Morant's absence (Image: Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Memphis Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson Jr. has given an honest take on the team losing Ja Morant for the start of the 2023/24 NBA season.

Morant was suspended for 25 games by the NBA in June after an investigation was launched following a video on social media in which he appeared to flash a gun. The Grizzlies point guard will also have to meet certain conditions before he returns to play.

The decision came just a few months after Morant was suspended following a similar incident in March. At that time the NBA handed the 23-year-old an eight-game ban, with Morant later having a meeting with league commissioner Adam Silver.

Morant returned to action in the latter stages of the 2022-23 NBA season. However, he will now be on the sidelines for the first 25 games of the 2023-24 campaign for the Grizzlies.

Jackson is fully aware of the talent that will be absent on the court for Memphis with Morant’s suspension. But he is also confident that the team will be able to manage without one of its star players available for the first couple of months of the season.

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"We just gotta navigate it," Jackson told . "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.

"He's gonna give us all the tools to be able to get that done."

After the news of Morant’s suspension was confirmed, the Grizzlies moved to secure a trade for Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics. It was part of a three-time trade that saw Kristaps Porzingis move to Boston and Tyus Jones made the switch to the Washington Wizards.

Memphis Grizzlies star makes feelings clear on Ja Morant's early season absenceJa Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies will miss the first 25 games of the 2023/24 NBA season through suspension (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Now the Grizzlies will have Smart as part of their roster who can perform in the point guard role while Morant is suspended. And Jackson is certainly excited at the prospect of being able to work with Smart in the months ahead.

"Oh, it's dope," Jackson said when asked about the trade for Smart. "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."

Mark Wakefield

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