Marcus Morris

Celtics Notes: Rozier, Irving, Lottery, Morris

The Celtics should resist the temptation to trade backup point guard Terry Rozier, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. A report surfaced this morning that Rozier is dissatisfied with his reduced role and several teams are waiting to see if Boston decides to deal him.

Rozier had a breakthrough performance in the postseason after Kyrie Irving was sidelined by knee surgery. Rozier averaged more than 36 minutes per night, posted a 16.5/5.3/5.7 line and helped the Celtics reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. With Irving back on the court, Rozier is playing fewer than 23 minutes a game and his numbers have fallen across the board, which is bad news as he heads toward free agency.

Given Irving’s injury history, Rozier still has a lot of value in Boston, and even if he remains a reserve, he may be the most explosive scorer the Celtics can bring off their bench. Boston’s front office is confident it will eventually get value for Rozier, Forsberg adds, even if it’s in a sign-and-trade next summer.

There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

  • Irving has pledged to remain with the Celtics when he opts out of his current contract, but ESPN analyst Jalen Rose isn’t convinced that it’s a good fit, relays Adam London of NESN. Appearing on “Get Up!,” Rose said Irving is among the 12 most talented players in the league, but questioned whether his isolation style works on a team that emphasizes passing and cutting. He also suggested that Irving’s presence may be holding back younger players such as Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
  • In the wake of last night’s outstanding performance by Duke freshmen R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson, Forsberg tweets the lottery odds for the Kings’ first-rounder that will likely go to the Celtics. Despite Sacramento’s respectable start, Forsberg finds that it has a 99.9% chance of ending up in the lottery, an 82.1% chance of falling between picks two and 10, a 25% chance of being between two and five and a 7.5% shot at being No. 1. Boston will get the higher pick between the Sixers and Kings, but the choice is protected if it’s first overall.
  • Marcus Morris credits an offseason regimen of  flexibility training, deep-tissue massage and meditation for his hot start to the new season, relays Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. At age 29, Morris is putting up career highs in scoring and rebounding, along with career bests in shooting from the field, foul line and 3-point range.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if those players’ stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Atlantic Division:

Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets, 25, PG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.9MM deal in 2016
Dinwiddie has been one of the biggest bargains in the league over the past couple of years but he figures to get a hefty pay raise next summer. Dinwiddie may not be the prototypical point guard but he can carry an offense at times. He’s averaging 14.9 PPG while shooting 48.9% overall and 43.5% from long range. He’s a career 32.5% 3-point shooter, so if he can establish himself as a solid long-range threat, he’ll be even more valuable. He had a 25-point outburst, all after halftime, and made the game-winning shot against his former team, the Pistons, on Wednesday.

Damyean Dotson, Knicks, 24, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $4MM deal in 2017
Dotson has a non-guaranteed salary next season. It’s hard to see the Knicks cutting a productive player on a dirt-cheap deal loose unless they hit the jackpot on a couple of top level free agents and need to open up more cap space. Dotson, a second-round pick last summer, has taken advantage of an injury to rookie Kevin Knox, scoring in double digits in each of the last six games. He’s also been a factor on the boards, averaging nearly six per game. Dotson has earned coach David Fizdale’s trust, though it will be interesting to see how much his minutes drop when Knox returns.

Wilson Chandler, Sixers, 31, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $46.5MM deal in 2015
The Sixers were hoping that Chandler would be a key component of their second unit. They’re still waiting to see if that’s the case, as Chandler has yet to make his Philadelphia debut due to a hamstring injury. Chandler has been durable in recent seasons, appearing in at least 71 games for the Nuggets the past three seasons, but he’s at the point of his career where injuries could be a growing concern.

Marcus Morris, Celtics, 29, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $20MM deal in 2015
Brad Stevens has a lot of quality pieces to fit but Morris doesn’t need to worry about his rotation spot. He’s posting averages of 14.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 25.6 MPG off the bench while guarding three different positions. Those stats are even more impressive on a loaded team with a lot of mouths to feed. Morris is due for a huge pay increase after signing a team-friendly deal with the Suns three years ago.

Greg Monroe, Raptors, 28, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.17MM deal in 2018
Monroe is the type of player who’s getting phased out of the league. He’s a low-post scorer with slow feet who has difficulty making defensive switches. He’s made only two brief appearances with the Raptors thus far and will likely remain at the end of the bench unless injuries pile up. Monroe will likely have to settle for a similar contract in free agency next summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: McConnell, Vonleh, Morris, Fultz

The Sixers plan to let the season play out before committing to guard T.J. McConnell long-term, according to Keith Pompey of McConnell is eligible for a contract extension, with the 26-year-old set to reach free agency in July on his current deal.

The 76ers have held brief discussions on possibly extending McConnell, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (podcast link), although the sides appear unlikely to reach an official agreement. Philadelphia hopes to keep space for a maximum-salary player in the summer of 2019, when talents such as Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard become free agents.

Several teams have expressed interest in trading for McConnell, including the Suns, Pompey wrote. Philadelphia recently rejected a trade proposal from Phoenix that included a second-round pick.

In 76 games with the Sixers last year, McConnell held per-game averages of 6.3 points, four assists and three rebounds in 22.4 minutes per contest. He scored four points and dished out three assists in Tuesday’s loss against Boston.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • New Knicks forward Noah Vonleh explained his decision to sign with the team this week, as relayed by Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “I felt like this was great spot for me, great opportunity,” he said. “Young team, being able to play with a bunch of guys around my age, a bunch of guys who have been in similar situations as me, being former lottery picks, teams giving up on them pretty quick. I felt like it was a good group to come join.”
  • Marcus Morris is prepared for the uncertainty that comes with earning minutes on the Celtics, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Morris could be asked to play major minutes on some nights, and significantly less minutes on other nights. “The only thing I can do is go out there and be effective with the minutes I’m given and that’s my whole motto during the season,” he said.
  • The Sixers could find more success by playing Markelle Fultz off the bench, Marcus Hayes of opines. Fultz started in the first half on Tuesday, then came off the bench in the second half behind J.J. RedickHe finished with five points on 2-7 shooting from the floor.

Celtics Notes: Irving Trade, Hayward, Morris, Brown

One year has past since the Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics, and the aftershocks are continuing throughout the league, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Irving demanded a deal last summer because he was tired of being in LeBron James‘ shadow in Cleveland. He wound up going to Boston in a move that may have launched a rebuilding project for the Cavs and set the Celtics up to be an elite team for several years.

The final deal sent Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s unprotected first-rounder that became Collin Sexton. The Cavaliers received a 2020 second-round pick as added compensation when they claimed Thomas’ hip was in worse shape than they were led to believe.

The addition of Irving changed the Celtics’ prospects, Blakely notes. It gave them more size in the backcourt and ended the need to compensate for Thomas on defense. It upgraded the talent level and gave Boston a chance to compete with the Warriors if they should meet in the Finals. And it validated Danny Ainge’s decision not to go all in with trade offers for Paul George or Jimmy Butler earlier in the summer.

There’s more tonight from Boston:

  • Gordon Hayward has made significant progress in recovering from a severe ankle injury, but his greatest challenges still lie ahead, Blakely notes in a separate story. Blakely talks to Chauncey Billups and Reggie Jackson, who have both been through long rehab processes, about the difficulty involved. “You’re a shell of yourself when you first come back,” Jackson said. “That’s the toughest part … every player that makes it here, has some type of greatness. So, you can’t be that until you’re full-go again.”
  • Marcus Morris is the latest NBA player to speak out about mental health issues, sharing his story with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN in her five-part series running this week. Morris discusses the trauma of growing up in a violent North Philadelphia neighborhood and said he never sought help until Ainge and coach Brad Stevens urged him to see a psychologist. “I know lots of guys who are dealing with some kind of anxiety and depression — not knowing if they have a job next season, not knowing if they’re going to get traded,” Morris said. “It’s so stressful. Everyone is pulling at you. They want your time, your money, a piece of your fame. … If you have depression, you should be trying to get rid of it instead of bottling it up and letting it weigh on you and weigh on you and weigh on you.”
  • Jayson Tatum looks ahead to training camp and talks about his offseason work with Kobe Bryant in a question-and-answer session with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Morris Twins Change Agents

Markieff Morris of the Wizards and Marcus Morris of the Celtics are preparing for free agency next summer by changing their representatives, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Both players signed with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group, who is best known as the agent for LeBron James. Paul has a number of other high-profile clients, such as John Wall, Ben Simmons and Eric Bledsoe.

Markieff Morris has spent the past two-and-a-half seasons in Washington after being acquired in a trade at the 2016 deadline. A seven-year veteran, he will make $8.6MM in the final season of a four-year, $32MM contract.

Marcus Morris has also been in the league seven years and is coming off his first season in Boston after being traded there by the Pistons last summer. He has a $5.375MM salary for 2018/19 in the final season of a four-year, $20MM deal.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Luxury Tax, Irving, Hayward

Marcus Smart essentially ended up with the same contract as the one the Celtics offered him via an extension last fall, sources tell Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The combo guard inked a four-year deal worth $52MM on Thursday.

That contract technically has a base value of $50MM, but annual $500K bonuses will bring the total value to $52MM, notes Fred Katz of (Twitter link). Those incentives aren’t linked to playoff success or individual accolades, but rather to body-fat and weigh-in requirements, according to Katz. They’re considered likely to be earned, which means they’ll count toward Smart’s annual cap hits.

With Smart under contract, the Celtics are now about $3.9MM over the luxury-tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. Boston could cut costs slightly by waiving Abdel Nader‘s partially guaranteed contract, which could also open up a roster spot for two-way free agent Jabari Bird, as Nahmad observes. Trading Marcus Morris‘ $5.38MM salary at some point could allow the C’s to avoid the tax, but there’s no indication the team is considering that for now.

Here’s more from Boston:

  • The Celtics may have first reached a four-year, $52MM agreement with Smart on Tuesday — a source tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that GM Danny Ainge changed his mind after initially making an offer at that price. In the ensuing 48 hours, Ainge changed his mind again and the deal was finalized, says Schultz.
  • Three player agents tell Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that they expect Kyrie Irving to opt out and leave the Celtics next summer. However, sources close to Irving tell Bulpett that the point guard is happy with Boston and has been talking about his future with the franchise beyond the 2018/19 season.
  • In an Insider-only piece, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explores what Smart’s new deal means for Irving and Terry Rozier, speculating that the Celtics may eventually have to decide between Smart and Rozier.
  • Re-signing Smart was worth the cost for the Celtics, according to Jeremy Woo of, who gives the club a B grade for the move.
  • During a media appearance on Thursday, Gordon Hayward expressed confidence that he’ll be back at full speed by August, suggesting he’ll “see how [his] ankle reacts to that,” per Jacob Wolf of Hayward also said he likes the Celtics’ chances to make a run at a title in 2018/19.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Celtics Rumors: Bamba, Ownership, Morris, Monroe

For the first time since 2015, the Celtics won’t have a top-five pick in the draft this year. However, it sounds like they may still have their eye on a top-five prospect.

According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, sources say that Boston has expressed interest in Texas big man Mohamed Bamba, including interviewing him at the draft combine in Chicago earlier this month. The Celtics’ first-round pick is at No. 27, and Bamba is expected to come off the board within the first six or seven picks on draft night, so in order to have a shot at the young center, the C’s would need to move way up.

While a trade doesn’t seem particularly likely, Deveney has previously reported that the Grizzlies are open to making a move with the No. 4 pick, and suggests today that the Mavericks may be willing to discuss the No. 5 selection. Additionally, Boston has no shortage of potential trade chips. The team could own up to four first-round picks in 2019, including the Kings’ selection (if it doesn’t end up first overall). Plus, given the Celtics’ backcourt and wing depth, players like Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown could become trade candidates for the right return.

The Celtics made a big draft trade last year when they sent the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia, but going from No. 27 into the top five would be an even more drastic move. As we wait to see if Boston seriously explores that possibility, let’s round up a few more Celtics notes…

  • While Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck didn’t want to discuss specific dollar figures, he told Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that ownership will have no qualms about spending to keep Boston’s roster together and pursue championships. “We put winning ahead of everything else,” Grousbeck said. “Every now and then you’ve got to make room and play the kids and get a Gordon Hayward in free agency, and other times you just try to keep a core together and build onto it. And we’re in the latter stage right now in trying to keep this group together and build onto it as best we can.”
  • More from Grousbeck, via Bulpett: “We can’t keep everybody if we’re going to keep adding (because of roster size limitations), but everybody who’s watched this team for 15 years knows what we’re about. … We live for banners. We live for rings. That’s what we live for.”
  • In a look at the Celtics’ potential roster and rotation for 2018/19, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe notes that Marcus Morris seems aware that a healthy lineup could create a minutes crunch for the team. “There’s going to be a lot of players next year, so I’m not 100% sure where I fit totally yet,” Morris said. “It’s just something I’m still kind of wary about.”
  • Within that same story, Himmelsbach says it’s “quite unlikely” that the Celtics will have interest in re-signing Greg Monroe this summer.

Central Notes: Lue, Love, Morris, Anigbogu

The Cavaliers started their Eastern Conference finals series against the Celtics today, aiming to reach the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season. At times, it seemed that the Cavaliers would not make it to this point of the season, evidenced by a series of roster moves, LeBron James pending free agency, and head coach Tyronn Lue‘s frequent changes.

As it turns out, Lue got the blessing of team president Dan Gilbert early in the season to tinker and experiment with different things throughout the season, Joe Vardon of writes.

“Dan Gilbert told me … you’ve gotta try new things,” Lue said. “Like, in business you gotta try new things. If it works, you’re a genius, if not, you change and do something else. I just think you gotta try things and kinda see how your team reacts to it.”

It was unconventional, but the Cavaliers were able to blow up their roster midseason and then win their first two playoff series.

Check out more Central Division notes below:

  • Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer writes that an effective Kevin Love will make the Cavaliers’ chance of advancing to the NBA Finals much easier. Love played well during Cleveland’s second-round matchup against the Raptors, helping the team sweep their way to the Eastern Conference finals.
  • Containing LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals will be crucial for the Celtics if the team has any hopes of advancing to the NBA Finals. Big man Marcus Morris said before Game 1 that he is ready for the challenge of guarding James and feels he can do some successfully, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg“I’m a little older, a little more experienced. Personally, I think I’m probably the best guy defending him in the league, outside of Kawhi [Leonard],” he said.
  •’s Mark Monteith reviewed Ike Anigbogu‘s first NBA season after he taken by the Pacers in the second round last season. Anigbogu only appeared in 11 games but the 19-year-old showed promise during his scare opportunities, Monteith writes.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Richardson, Fizdale, Morris

Injured Sixers center Joel Embiid must pass through the NBA’s concussion protocol, but he has been free of concussion symptoms since March 29, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That was the day after Embiid suffered an orbital bone fracture in a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz.

The team is hoping Embiid can be ready sometime during the first round of the playoffs. There are steps that Embiid has to meet before he can be cleared for full activity, but Pompey reports that the Sixers are confident he’ll be able to (Twitter link). Philadelphia has gone 5-0 without Embiid, but his 22.9 and 11.0 rebounds per night and his presence on defense will be important in the postseason.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Malachi Richardson envisions a long-term role with the Raptors, but for now he’s trying to prove himself in the G League, writes David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Richardson is averaging 7.2 points per game while helping Raptors 905 reach the championship series, which starts tonight. He has played just one NBA game since being acquired from the Kings in a deal at the deadline. He has one year left on his contract and is counting on a strong summer league performance to convince the organization he can be a rotation player. “I just have to keep getting better,” Richardson said. “From defending, making shots, fitting into a role, just finding my niche and getting good. Fitting in with the guys and getting better.”
  • When the Heat came to New York Friday, Dwyane Wade offered a suggestion if the Knicks plan to replace coach Jeff Hornacek once the season ends, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Wade advocated for David Fizdale, a longtime assistant in Miami, who fired earlier this season in Memphis. “He’s a phenomenal coach — everyone has seen that in the job he was able to do in Memphis [last season],’’ Wade said. “I definitely think his name will be in the running for a lot of jobs. He’s going to bring to a team his work ethic, a great offensive-minded coach, but has defensive principles from Miami [president] Pat Riley has installed in every coach that’s come here.”
  • Technicals have been an issue recently for Celtics forward Marcus Morris, who has been tossed from two games in the past week, but he promises to tone down his approach in the playoffs, according to Taylor Snow of“I promise I won’t get any techs unless we’re just getting blatantly cheated,” he said. “I want my team to win, so I won’t put my team in jeopardy or anything like that. But I’ll still be passionate about the game.”

Celtics Notes: Irving, Gibson, Monroe, Morris

The follow-up operation that will keep Kyrie Irving out of the playoffs should fix his knee problem for good, although there is a slight chance of further complications, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Irving had successful surgery today, the Celtics announced, with two screws being removed that were used to repair the fractured patella he suffered in the 2015 NBA Finals.

The screws, which measure about four millimeters and were used to hold in place a tension wire that surgeons removed last month, had become infected. Deveney talked to Dr. Derek Ochiai, an orthopedic surgeon at the Nirschl Orthopedic Center, who explained that Irving’s condition can be easily fixed if the infection is localized, but is more serious if he has osteomyelitis, which would involve a slow-moving infection that began when the screws were first inserted.

“Best-case scenario, there is no osteomyelitis, no bone infection, no bacteria, and they’re taking the screws out as a precaution,” Dr. Ochiai explained. “Once he heals up and the screws are out, he’s fine. That’s best-case. But if there is an infection, you really should jump on that. Somebody who has had it for years, you’re looking at six weeks of IV antibiotics … and possibly other debris treatments where you have to clean out the bone more. You have to make those holes bigger to try to treat the infection. But you have to hope, he gets the hardware removed, and he is OK from there.”

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • New Celtic Jonathan Gibson became an instant fan favorite, relays Taylor Snow of Shortly after signing with the team, Gibson delivered nine points in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game. The offer was a surprise to Gibson, who was in Las Vegas when he learned about it on Thursday. “My agent called me and asked, ‘Do you want to go play for the Celtics the rest of the season?’” Gibson said. “I said, ‘Sure!’ and [director of player personnel] Austin [Ainge] called me and confirmed it. I was definitely excited. I called my family and let everybody know. Then I was on my way out here in the next couple of hours.”
  • Impending free agent Greg Monroe made his case for a new contract Friday by posting the first triple double for a Celtics center since 1987, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Monroe had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over the Bulls.
  • Marcus Morris discussed his relationship with the officials after being ejected for the second time this week, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “I’m not trying to be a bully and get kicked out,” he said. “They need to realize that because I’m not really having conversations with the referees, I don’t have anything to say to them. They’re doing too much by throwing guys out the game.”