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Around the NBA: Ja Morant suspended 25 games, Zion trade rumors and more

Here’s what’s been making headlines since the close of the 2022-23 NBA season.

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Six Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets have taken home the 2022-23 NBA title and the season has come to a close. That just means it’s start of slop season, baby!

Here’s some of the headlines from the first week of the NBA offseason.

Ja Morant suspended 25 games to start 2023-24 season

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday morning that Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended for 25 games to start the 2023-24 NBA season. There will be conditions to his return, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The duration of Morant’s possible suspension has been a topic of conversation since the young star was seen brandishing what appeared to be a gun on Instagram Live. NBA commissioner Adam Silver clarified that Morant’s suspension would not be announced until after the NBA Finals, but since the Denver Nuggets claimed the title earlier this week, attention shifted to waiting for this pending announcement.

So far, no word on what those conditions will be that he will have to fulfill to return to action. The NBA released this statement, which simply says Morant will be required to “formulate and fulfill a program with the league”:

Later Friday morning, Wojnarowski posted this statement from Morant:

New Orleans Pelicans ‘considering the prospect’ of trading Zion Williamson for No. 2 pick

NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Pelicans are considering the possibility of trading their 2019 first-overall draft pick Zion Williamson for the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, owned by the Charlotte Hornets. Stein made the comments on an episode of the #thisleague UNCUT podcast:

Stein: “Based on what I’m hearing, yes, the Pelicans are legitimately considering… doesn’t mean they would 100 percent do it, but they are considering the prospect of trying to assemble a deal for Charlotte’s No. 2 pick that would feature Zion Williamson.”

There have been conflicting reports about this situation throughout the week, and there will no doubt be more leading up to the draft, but “considering the prospect” doesn’t really guarantee anything.

Michael Jordan selling majority ownership of Hornets

As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter Friday morning, NBA all-time great Michael Jordan is finalizing the sale of the Charlotte Hornets after 13 years as the majority owner.

In his time at the helm, the Hornets went 423-600 with just three winning seasons. They lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in each of those three seasons, failing to ever win a playoff series under Jordan.

Jordan paid $275 million for a majority stake in the franchise in 2010, and now is selling that to “a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall for an approximate $3 billion valuation, according to league sources,” as reported by Woj. Not a bad payday — and Jordan will still hold a minority stake in the team.

The Hornets hold the No. 2 pick in the draft after an abysmal, injury-riddled 27-55 season.

Golden State Warriors promote Mike Dunleavy Jr. to GM

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning that the Golden State Warriors were promoting vice president of basketball operations Mike Dunleavy Jr. to general manager of the franchise.

Dunleavy Jr. played 15 seasons in the NBA before retiring and was hired as a scout for Golden State in 2018. Since then, it’s been a quick ascension to the top ranks of the organization.

He replaces former president and general manager Bob Myers, who recently stepped down after 11 seasons and four championships.

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