Memphis Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman said he believes the league's 25-game suspension of Ja Morant was "appropriate" and thinks the superstar guard now must focus on taking the "really serious steps" necessary to gain reinstatement by the league.
Kleiman spoke Thursday night after the conclusion of the NBA draft and addressed publicly for the first time the discipline the NBA handed down to Morant last week for conduct detrimental to the league.
The NBA suspended Morant for eight games in March, when he was seen on Instagram Live holding up a handgun while intoxicated at a Denver-area club. Last week's discipline came after a May video on social media circulated showing Morant brandishing a firearm again.
"The thing to focus on at this point ... what's Ja going to commit to going forward?" Kleiman told reporters. "What are the steps that he's prepared to take for the NBA to grant the ability to rejoin the team after serving the suspension?
"I think there's a lot of healthy dialogue there. I think everyone did acknowledge early on that this was going to be ongoing and Ja wasn't just going to become the best version of himself overnight. I think there's many really serious steps that he needs to continue to take."
Commissioner Adam Silver said when the suspension was announced last week that it would come with conditions for his return, including Morant being "required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior."
In the meantime, Morant will be ineligible to participate in any public league or team activities, including preseason games, during the suspension.
"There's no strain in the relationship, but we have high expectations of the standard that Ja is going to have to hold himself to," Kleiman told reporters.