Marcus Morris

Pacific Notes: R. Jackson, Morris, Bjelica, Suns

Reggie Jackson gave the Clippers a solid performance Friday night in his first action since learning he was out of coach Tyronn Lue‘s reduced rotation, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Jackson contributed 11 points, four rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes after sitting out the previous two games. The 30-year-old guard, who will be a free agent after this season, was told last Saturday that he will no longer have guaranteed minutes every night.

“It was a hard conversation for me because I thought he was actually playing well,” Lue said. “But we couldn’t play all the guys, you know that coming into the season. … I talked to Reggie and he took it well. When you are a veteran and you’re a pro and you want to win, you do whatever it takes to try to win. I told him to stay ready, it’s a long season, with the COVID, injuries, things like that, you got to be ready.”

Jackson found out at Friday’s shootaround that he would be in the starting lineup, and Lue was happy that he didn’t try to do too much on his own. One highlight for Jackson was a rare dunk in the second half.

“Feels good, especially at 30, getting teased by my teammates, seeing an open lane and having a chance to attack,” Jackson said. “I had an injury-plagued past few years so just feeling like I’m getting my legs back under me and to feel somewhat 20 again, it felt great to go out there and get a dunk.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris says the NBA’s decision to begin the season in December threw off his recovery timeline, Greif adds in the same story. Morris said tendinitis prevented him from doing offseason workouts and he was timing his recovery for a January start. He remains on a minutes limit, but hasn’t had any trouble with his knees since training camp began.
  • The Kings haven’t used Nemanja Bjelica in their past three games, but the decision is only temporary, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Coach Luke Walton is experimenting with defensive rotations and has told Bjelica he will get another chance soon.
  • The Suns‘ last three games have been postponed due to health and safety protocols, but a league source told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that Monday’s contest in Memphis “looks good to go.” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins is also optimistic that the game will be played. “All I know is that everything is kind of full go right now,” he said. “There’s some final checkmarks that need to be taken care of, obviously, for Phoenix to get back on track, but we’re all hopeful we are able to play on Monday.”

Pacific Notes: Caruso, Smith, Morris, Kaminsky

Lakers guard Alex Caruso said he never tested positive for COVID-19, but someone he had seen around Christmas-time tested positive and he was placed under the league’s healthy and safety protocols because of contact tracing, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.

Caruso understands why the NBA set up those protocols but it was still a frustrating situation for him, Goon adds. The guard missed five games but returned to action for the Lakers on Thursday, playing 20 minutes and scoring eight points against San Antonio.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns rookie Jalen Smith didn’t make the team’s three-game road trip that began Friday in Detroit due to health and safety protocols, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Smith, the 10th overall pick, hadn’t played since Phoenix’s second game against Sacramento because of an ankle injury.
  • Marcus Morris has no issue with Clippers coach Tyronn Lue concerning his second-unit role, Goon writes. Morris, who re-signed with the franchise for four years and $64MM this offseason, made his season debut on Wednesday. Morris had been sidelined by knee soreness. “In hindsight, I was fine with either, but I have seen how well those guys are jelling with the first unit and I thought I could help the second unit with scoring, with leadership, things like that,” Morris said. “I just told him, ‘Hey, if that is what you want to do, I’ll go along with you.’”
  • Forward Frank Kaminsky made his feelings apparent about the Suns before he re-joined them, Gina Mizell of the team’s website writes. Phoenix declined a $5MM option on his contract but claimed him after the Kings waived him late in training camp. “For some reason, people tell you, ‘Don’t let it be known where you want to go or where you want to play,’” Kaminsky said. “But I don’t care. I wanted to play here. I wanted to be with this team and with this group of people.”

Injury Updates: Hayward, Kemba, Thompson, Ennis, Morris

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who broke the bone at the base of his right pinky finger last week, will be available for Charlotte’s regular season opener in Cleveland on Wednesday, he said today (Twitter link via team).

When Hayward’s injury was announced last Wednesday, a report indicated that the Hornets didn’t believe he’d require surgery and that he’d likely be able to return to action when he felt he could comfortably manage the pain and perform effectively. Apparently, it didn’t take long for the veteran forward to feel comfortable playing through the injury.

Here are a few more health updates from around the NBA:

  • Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is still “a long way away,” head coach Brad Stevens said today (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Walker, who is rehabbing a left knee injury, is still limited to 1-on-1 work with a coach, and the team won’t update his status until the first week of January. Stevens is hopeful that big man Tristan Thompson (hamstring) will be able to play in Boston’s opener on Wednesday, Bontemps adds (via Twitter).
  • Magic swingman James Ennis will miss the first game of the season due to hamstring and calf injuries and his status beyond that game is questionable, head coach Steve Clifford said today (Twitter link via Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel).
  • The Clippers have listed Marcus Morris as out for their regular season opener on Tuesday night due to right knee soreness (link via ESPN). Morris didn’t play in any of the club’s three preseason games.

Clippers Notes: Ibaka, Zubac, George, Morris, Williams, Beverley

Serge Ibaka started at center in the Clippers‘ preseason opener and coach Tyronn Lue will continue to have the prized free agent acquisition work with the first unit, according to Jovan Buha of The AthleticIvica Zubac started regularly last season when Doc Rivers was the head coach.

“Zu started the last couple of years and did a great job,” Lue said. “Just kind of seeing this team, what style of play we want to play at, right now, tonight we went with Serge and we’ll continue to see how that looks.”

Ibaka has the ability to stretch defenses and defend the perimeter more adeptly that Zubac, while Zubac is a better screener and roller and rim protector, Buha adds.

We have more on the Clippers:

  • The front office checked around the league to determine Paul George‘s trade value before deciding that an extension was the best option, The Ringer’s Paolo Uggetti reports. George signed a max four-year extension that kicks in for the 2021/22 season. George could have opted out of his contract after the upcoming season without the extension. The market for George around the league would have likely gotten him that same contract elsewhere, Uggetti adds.
  • Forward Marcus Morris sat out the preseason opener due to minor knee soreness, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times writes. “We’re just being cautious,” Lue said. The Clippers re-signed Morris on a four-year, $64MM deal after acquiring him in a trade last season.
  • Patrick Beverley and/or Lou Williams could be traded during the season, though Beverley’s contract might be tough to move, some anonymous front office executives and scouts told Sam Amick of The Athletic. The Clippers didn’t truly address their point guard situation in the offseason but that could change as the season progresses.

Pacific Notes: CP3, Suns, Clippers, Ibaka, Morris, Warriors

At age 35, Chris Paul is more than a decade older than Suns cornerstone players Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. However, the star point guard doesn’t plan to simply be the veteran mentor on a young Phoenix roster — he made it clear during his first media session this week that he also wants to help the team get back to the postseason, as Royce Young of ESPN writes.

“Everyone always talks about what I can teach (Booker) or teach some of these other guys, but they’re teaching me at the same time too,” Paul said. “I’m not James Naismith by no means. First things first, I’m not just coming in here trying to teach everybody. I’m his teammate. We’re here to hoop, we’re here to compete and that’s how I approach this.”

Meanwhile, Booker and Ayton are excited by the opportunity to team up with a 10-time All-Star like Paul, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, who says both players were shocked when they first heard about the trade bringing CP3 to Phoenix.

“I wanted to do a backflip,” Ayton said. “You ever seen a seven-footer do a backflip? OK. That’s how excited I was.”

Besides getting an opportunity to play with up-and-coming stars like Booker and Ayton, Paul is looking forward to reuniting with head coach Monty Williams, whom he played for in New Orleans for a single season 10 years ago. Williams said this week that he thinks both he and Paul have “grown a lot” in the last decade.

“I think we both were really headstrong, too, back then,” Williams said, according to Young. “I was walking around like a dictator ready to cut somebody’s head off, trying to implement my way and my program. I don’t think I was really good at allowing him to do what the great ones do. There were times I felt like I took the paintbrush out of (Paul’s) hand.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After chemistry issues helped sink the Clippers last season, head coach Tyronn Lue is confident he’ll be able to hold players accountable in his new role by always being blunt and honest, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “What I learned from Brian Shaw a long time ago was always tell the truth, whether they like it or not,” Lue said. “Even (back in his playing days) with Kobe and Shaq, just telling those guys the truth. They might not like it, but they respect it.”
  • Serge Ibaka‘s friendship with Kawhi Leonard was a factor in his decision to join the Clippers in free agency, he said on Thursday, as Swanson relays in a separate O.C. Register story. “One thing about me and Kawhi is like, there is no ego in our friendship,” Ibaka said. “… I know who he is and he knows as a teammate what I can do for him, for the team and it is make things smoother and easier.”
  • Lakers forward Markieff Morris said this week that rumors last month about him potentially teaming up with twin brother Marcus Morris for the Clippers were “just talk,” per Swanson. “They were just trying to scare Lakers fans,” Markieff said.
  • Warriors big man Marquese Chriss is confident that there will be plenty of minutes at center to go around around for him, Kevon Looney, and No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, as Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area details.

Clippers Re-Sign Marcus Morris To Four-Year Deal

NOVEMBER 25: The Clippers have officially announced the re-signing of Morris, via a team press release.


NOVEMBER 22: The Clippers and Marcus Morris have reached an agreement on a new contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the veteran forward will sign a four-year, $64MM contract with the club.

Morris was one of Los Angeles’ top priorities this offseason, averaging 16.7 points and five rebounds per game last season with the Knicks and Clippers. He fit seamlessly alongside Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and others, adding three-point shooting and toughness on the defensive end.

Morris, who turned 31 in September, will likely remain in the team’s starting lineup next season. Prior to joining the Clippers, he held stints in Houston, Phoenix, Detroit, Boston and New York.

The Clippers had a disappointing playoff exit last season, blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. The team has since fired Doc Rivers, overhauled its coaching staff under Tyronn Lue, and lost Montrezl Harrell to the rival Lakers in free agency.

In addition to reaching a deal with Morris, the Clippers also agreed to a new contract with veteran forward Patrick Patterson in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Acquire Jerami Grant In Sign-And-Trade With Nuggets

NOVEMBER 22: The Pistons have officially announced the acquisition of Grant. Interestingly, the team’s press release states that it’s a sign-and-trade, with Grant and the draft rights to Nikola Radicevic being sent to Detroit, while Denver receives cash considerations.

The move will allow the Nuggets to create a traded player exception worth about $9.5MM.


NOVEMBER 20: The Pistons are signing veteran free agent Jerami Grant to a three-year contract worth $60MM, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move will reunite Grant with new Pistons GM Troy Weaver, who worked in Oklahoma City’s front office during the forward’s stint with the team.

Grant, 26, was acquired by the Nuggets during the 2019 offseason from the Thunder in exchange for a first-round pick. He came off the bench for most of the season in Denver, averaging 12.0 PPG and 3.5 RPG with a shooting line of .478/.389/.750 in 71 games (26.6 MPG). He entered the team’s starting lineup in the playoffs due to Will Barton‘s absence and played a key role in Denver’s run to the Western Finals.

Grant’s size, defensive versatility, and ability to knock down outside shots made him a popular free agent this fall, though it’s still a bit surprising that the rebuilding Pistons were the team to land him. Detroit entered this week with cap room but have made a series of moves eating into that cap room and will have re-open some of it to complete the Grant signing.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, will be on the lookout for frontcourt players after two of their key free agents – Grant and Mason Plumlee – agreed to deals with Detroit tonight. According to Denver-area reporter T.J. McBride (Twitter link), the Nuggets offered to match Grant’s three-year, $60MM offer from the Pistons, but he chose Detroit because he wants a bigger role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Morris Twins, Expansion, J. Grant, Hampton

Almost exactly a year ago, the Morris twins – Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris – changed agencies, signing with Roc Nation Sports for representation. However, with the two veteran forwards on the verge of free agency, Roc Nation won’t be the agency repping them this fall.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Morris twins have signed with agent Chafie Fields of Wasserman for representation. Fields is one of a small handful of agents who represents both NFL and NBA clients.

It’s not necessarily the best offseason to be reaching free agency, as few teams around the NBA will have cap room available, but the Morris twins should do pretty well on the open market. Marcus is coming off a productive season with the Knicks and Clippers, while Markieff played a role in helping the Lakers win a title last month.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • One sports business expert who spoke to Jabari Young of CNBC predicted that the NBA may revisit the idea of expansion in the coming years in an effort to offset the financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “Seattle and Las Vegas are by far the two most likely markets for various reasons,” said Patrick Rishe, the director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis. “Today, if it was two teams, you’re talking over $1 billion that would be shared, and those two new expansion teams will not get their share of media revenues at the beginning.”
  • Using his new metric BORD$, John Hollinger of The Athletic evaluated the values of this year’s free agent small forwards and power forwards. Unsurprisingly, Brandon Ingram and Anthony Davis grade out as the top forwards. Derrick Jones, Jabari Parker, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are among the players rated highly by Hollinger’s formula, while Nuggets forward Jerami Grant is dubbed by Hollinger to be “probably the most overrated player” on this year’s free agent market.
  • In a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, draft prospect RJ Hampton discussed spending last year in New Zealand, his preparation for the 2020 draft, and why he’s modeling his offensive game after Zach LaVine.

California Notes: Clippers Offseason, Fox, Dwight, McNair

After blowing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals, the star-studded Clippers face an uncertain offseason, Danny Leroux of The Athletic writes. Leroux unpacks the potential fates of three Clipper big men worth tracking during Los Angeles’s offseason.

The team can re-sign unrestricted free agent forward Marcus Morris at a 20% annual raise using his Non-Bird Rights. However, Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, also an unrestricted free agent, may command more money than Los Angeles is comfortable paying him after a lackluster postseason performance, while JaMychal Green will most likely opt out of his $5MM player option for the 2020/21 season in search of a more lucrative payday. In Leroux’s view, the Clippers may look elsewhere for centers than small-ball options like Green and Harrell.

There are more notes from the NBA’s California teams:

  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox is eligible for a maximum extension of his rookie contract this offseason. Jason Jones of The Athletic assesses the pros and cons of such a deal being completed sooner rather than later, one of the big decisions facing new Sacramento general manager Monte McNair.
  • 34-year-old Lakers reserve center Dwight Howard has emerged as a legitimate antagonist against All-Star Nuggets center Nikola Jokic during the two teams’ Western Conference Finals series, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. Howard was able to use his strength and length to impede Jokic’s passing ability in a Game 2 win. “As soon as I step onto the court, I’m gonna let him know that I’m there,” Howard said after the first game of the series, also a Lakers win.
  • During his introductory team press conference today, new Kings GM Monte McNair asserted that head coach Luke Walton will remain on the sidelines for the 2020/21 season, Jason Jones of The Athletic tweets.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. With the playoffs ongoing at the Orlando campus, it’s time to examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors.

Daniel Theis, Celtics, 28, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2019

Heading into the playoffs, no one quite knew what the Celtics’ big man rotation would look like. There’s no doubt right now which center coach Brad Stevens trusts the most. Theis has played heavy minutes when he’s been able to stay out of foul trouble. He averaged 30.1 MPG in the seven-game series against the Raptors and was productive (10.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG) while keeping turnovers to a minimum (1.0). He’s averaged 33.5 MPG thus far against the Heat. Moreover, the Celtics’ staff trusts that Theis can switch onto a variety of players defensively. His $5MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed but it’s hard to imagine Boston would let him go.

Marcus Morris, Clippers, 31, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $15MM deal in 2019

Morris had an interesting and controversial journey through free agency last summer. He reneged a two-year agreement with San Antonio and signed a one-year, $15MM pact with the Knicks. When the Clippers acquired Morris at the trade deadline, he was viewed as potentially the final piece to a championship puzzle. The Clippers crashed and burned in part because Morris was a non-factor as the series against the Nuggets wore on. In the last two games, Morris averaged 6.0 PPG and shot 3-for-14 from the field. He was better at being an irritant than a difference-maker. It will be interesting to see if his price tag drops this offseason.

Serge Ibaka, Raptors, 31, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $65MM deal in 2017

Ibaka had a strong postseason run while coming off the bench. He averaged 14.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 1.3 BPG in 22.8 MPG while making 51.1% of his 3-point attempts. Ibaka turns 31 on Friday but he’ll receive his biggest birthday gift in the coming months when the Raptors or some other suitor hands him a lucrative deal. ESPN’s Bobby Marks believes he will get full $9.3MM mid-level exception offers from playoff teams without cap space but that Toronto may offer a one-year deal at $18MM to keep him and preserve cap space for next summer.

Monte Morris, Nuggets, 25, PG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $4.66MM deal in 2018

When Malik Beasley was dealt to the Timberwolves in February, Morris became the clear-cut backup to Jamal Murray. He’s been a key piece off the bench during the Nuggets’ dream run to the Western Conference Finals. Morris averaged just 16.6 MPG against the Clippers but scored in double digits four times during the series. He’s also played smart and poised, making more steals (10) than turnovers (8) in 297 minutes during the first two playoff series. Morris has a $1.66MM non-guaranteed salary for next season. That seems like a very big bargain.

Meyers Leonard, Heat, 28, PF/C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $41MM deal in 2016

The Heat have received significant contributions from a good chunk of their roster during their surprising carpet ride to the Eastern Conference Finals. Leonard hasn’t been among that group. Leonard, who made $11.3MM this season, was a starter until February when he suffered an ankle injury. He’s been relegated to cheerleading status during the restart, appearing in two seeding games and one postseason game. He was mainly a second-unit player in Portland before this season and he’ll have to compete for a rotation spot wherever he lands next season.