Popovich: Spurs “Blindsided” By Morris’ Change Of Heart

While it was overshadowed by bigger-name transactions, one of the most fascinating sequences of the first week of 2019’s free agent period came after the Spurs agreed to sign Marcus Morris to a two-year deal worth their mid-level exception.

San Antonio, having already reached a deal to sign DeMarre Carroll using a portion of the mid-level, renegotiated Carroll’s contract and agreed to send Davis Bertans to the Wizards in a three-team trade that would ultimately open up the MLE for Morris. However, Morris then reneged on his agreement with the Spurs, opting to sign with the Knicks instead. San Antonio subsequently used part of its MLE to sign Trey Lyles, but likely would have preferred to simply keep Bertans.

Addressing that situation for the first time today, Spurs head coach and head of basketball operations Gregg Popovich expressed frustration with how things played out, as Jabari Young of The Athletic (video link) relays.

“It was more than difficult to lose Davis,” Popovich said. “Let’s just say that that was an unfortunate situation that was handled unprofessionally on a couple of different levels. We made that move (trading Bertans) to make the signing that we did, and we got blindsided. Davis was a special player, as we all know. He was young and getting better and better, so we hated losing him.”

Morris’ change of heart in free agency played a part in his split with agent Rich Paul, who reportedly urged him to stick to his deal with the Spurs. The situation also allegedly fueled some animosity between the Knicks and Spurs.

Morris told Shams Charania of The Athletic in late July that as soon as he changed his mind and decided to sign with the Knicks, he called the Spurs to make sure they knew. According to Morris, he had “great conversations afterward” with the Spurs and felt good about moving forward.

Based on his Media Day comments, it doesn’t sound as if Popovich shared the same feelings about how the saga played out. Asked today if Morris reached out to the team and explained what happened, Popovich replied, “Not really.”

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19 thoughts on “Popovich: Spurs “Blindsided” By Morris’ Change Of Heart

  1. metsie1

    Oh boo hoo to Greg Popovich. In the real world no deal is done until it is SIGNED. Apparently, the NBA league office had no issue with the Knicks. Neither should Popovich. Them’s the breaks. Nothing to see hear but an entitled whiner who lost this time.

      • metsie1

        Not at all. However, he screwed up. If he loved Bertans so much he wouldn’t have made the move. A player is not signed until he is signed. He needs to stop whining, admit he blew it and move on. The only one acting “unprofessional” is the guy calling someone else unprofessional.

        • TJECK109

          Really? Yeah a player isn’t signed until he’s signed but a man isn’t a man if you can’t take him at his word. And then you add in Morris making up a story over having a good conversation and what do you have?

          • metsie1

            Yes really. Wake up. Until a deal is signed, there is no deal. Be honest, you agree to take a new job but then a new company calls and says we will give you significantly more. You have no signed agreement. You turning them down? Now put yourself in his shoes where significant means significant. Owners cut and screw players on bonuses and the like all the time. The Spurs are pissed because they got rid of Bertans before they had a finalized deal. That’s their fault.

            • ColossusOfClout

              If his agent says the deal is done then it’s done. You’re the whiner not Popovich in this case. Some of these players are like females, can’t make up their damn minds. DeAndre Jordan comes to mind.

              • metsie1

                LOL. Morris got his money. His agent said the deal is done and was it done. No. You are wrong. Morris is not on the Spurs.

        • StizzleD

          Actually he couldn’t sign the contract due to the salary cap. They literally HAD to trade Bertran before they could sign him and he backed out after the trade. They only made the trade bc he agreed that he would sign for that amount of money if they could make it happen. They did and he backed out.

    • stretch123

      An agreement is an agreement and Morris was wrong to do this leading the Spurs on and changing his mind. Unprofessionalism has no room in major sports that are shown on an international stage.

    • specialfriedrice

      @ metsie1 I do not believe you completely understand the FA process.

      And you also conveniently have left out more than half the story to form your opinion…

      • metsie1

        Baloney you don’t understand the process. Player got paid. Whether you have created some process in your head at least learn from your mistakes. No one is signed until a physical is completed and player signs a contract. Did that happen? No. According to League Office? No problem with the Knicks. You are ignoring the facts.

  2. amk3510

    Really? Morris is alright but nothing special. If him not signing throws a wrench into the plan, than your team is not that good.

  3. stevep-4

    Yeh guys will go wherever they get the most money. Why wouldn’t they, their career is short and risky. Sorry, Pop, you need to work based on business not emotion.

  4. Hey look, the fact that Rich Paul ditched Morris after what happened tells you who was in the wrong here.

    If the deal was within its own micro-bubble, meaning it was just the Morris signing, it wouldn’t have been as bad. The fact that the Spurs had to deal away Bertans, and then sign an inferior player in Lyles afterwards is what makes this worse for Pop and the team.

    • metsie1

      That is Spurs problem. They didn’t have cap room and needed to clear space. Knicks had no such problem as they had loads of cap space. This is how the cap works. Especially as the Knicks overpaid for this guy.

  5. Spurs5

    Fans instead complaining who cry baby and who was wrong, Popivich was ask question by media about morrise signing and he explain is was handle unprofessional on many levels without going in details that help us understand better but he express what made it worst they would rather kept Bertans If Morris did not want sign with them. If this occured where many free agents break they promised, I promise u rules be change already for free agency and it may be talk future owner meetings

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