The 2023 NBA offseason is in full swing, and there is now more going on than trade rumors and pre-draft workouts. Adam Silver has announced what all NBA fans have been waiting for, the extent of Ja Morant’s suspension. The Memphis Grizzlies’ star point guard is suspended 25 games to start the 2023-24 NBA season.
After being suspended for eight games in March, Morant made the same mistake again. The NBA is sending a message, as Morant is set to miss 30% of the regular season, but the real punishment will affect his pockets and his brand. Ja Morant is set to miss out on about $7.5 million from just his base contract.
Due to the new rules, for players to be eligible for awards and All-NBA teams, they must play 65 games minimum. With one of the top point guards in the league automatically disqualified from contention for All-NBA teams, that leaves a spot open for other players to take advantage.
The All-NBA teams are going positionless starting next season, meaning two Sacramento Kings can take advantage of a vacancy created by Morant. Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox both have a better opportunity to make All-NBA next season, especially Fox, who will catapult himself to be an undisputed top-five point guard.
A payday could be coming for De’Aaron Fox due to Morant’s suspension.
If De’Aaron Fox makes All-NBA next season, some significant contract implications come into play. Fox can potentially sign a “supermax” contract extension after next season and is eligible after seven years in the league and receives All-NBA honors. Fox can go from making 30% of the cap to 35%, a change that affects both De’Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings.
Besides the effect Morant’s suspension has on De’Aaron Fox and the All-NBA teams, it could also shake up the Western Conference standings. Last season the Sacramento Kings finished as the third seed in the West, behind only the Denver Nuggets and the Memphis Grizzlies. With Morant missing 25 games next season, do not expect the Grizzlies to stay a top-three seed in the West.
Morant’s suspension will hurt the Grizzlies but help the Sacramento Kings.
Although the Grizzlies have played well without Morant in the past, including a 20-5 record while he was hurt in the 2021-22 season, they can not sustain that good of a record with a potentially tough schedule to start the 2023-24 season.
Overall, the Morant suspension has implications for most NBA teams but could impact the Sacramento Kings significantly. Expect the Sacramento Kings to find a top-two seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.