Marcus Morris

Clippers Notes: Free Agency, Dunn, Lue, Hiatus

The Clippers have a realistic opportunity to bring back their 11-man rotation next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Many of the decisions will come down to whether the organization wants to make a financial commitment to its current players or explore other options.

L.A. has Bird rights on Montrezl Harrell and can offer him a longer and more valuable contract than anyone else. The Clippers have Non-Bird rights on Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the Knicks last month, and can offer a new deal starting at $18MM per season. JaMychal Green has a $5MM player option, and the team might decide to use part of its mid-level exception to re-sign Reggie Jackson.

Buha adds that the loss of revenue from the shortened season could work in the Clippers’ favor by depressing a free agent market that’s already limited by the small number of teams with cap space. Harrell and Morris may not get the offers they would have under normal circumstances, while Green could decide to stick with his guaranteed money.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • There may be something to the rumors that Doc Rivers would like to add Bulls guard Kris Dunn as a defensive specialist next season, Buha states in the same piece. Dunn will be a restricted free agent if Chicago makes a $4.6MM qualifying offer, and he could be a nice backcourt partner for Lou Williams coming off the bench. The downsides are Dunn’s poor 3-point shooting — 25.9% this year — and his season-ending knee injury.
  • Speculation regarding Tyronn Lue as the next head coach of the Nets has died down while the league has been on hiatus, but Buha understands why Brooklyn would be interested. During his time in Cleveland, Lue proved he could win a title and he developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving. Buha identifies two other members of Rivers’ staff, Rex Kalamian and Sam Cassell, who might get head coaching offers soon.
  • The Clippers may benefit as much as anyone from having several weeks off, Buha suggests in a separate column. They are among the league’s oldest teams and injuries have been a concern, particularly for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. New additions Morris and Jackson will also get more time to learn Rivers’ system.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Pacific 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 their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Marquese Chriss, Warriors, 22, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.48MM deal in 2019
The eighth overall pick of the 2016 draft flamed out in Phoenix, Houston and Cleveland, but he’s taken advantage of his opportunity in Golden State. His playing time has gradually increased and so has his production. He averaged 13.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.8 BPG last month; In his first four games this month, he’s posted a stat line of 14.5/10.0/3.8/1.5 in those categories. Golden State has until mid-July to guarantee his $1.824MM salary for next season. That’s a dirt-cheap price for a young rotation big man.

Marcus Morris, Clippers, 30, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $15MM deal in 2019
Morris has jumped right into the Clippers’ rotation since the Knicks traded him. He’s started all 11 games since the deal became official, averaging 28.9 MPG. Unfortunately, Morris seemingly left his jump shot in the Big Apple. He’s made just 37.3% of his field-goal attempts and 26.3% of his 3-point tries with his new team. In the big showdown with the Lakers on Sunday, Morris clanked all nine of his shots. His defensive versatility will keep him in the rotation, but he needs to regain his perimeter touch to stay on the court in crunch time. Otherwise, he may have to drop his price tag this summer.

Quinn Cook, Lakers, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $6MM deal in 2019
Cook was a steady presence with Golden State last season, as he appeared in 74 regular-season games and 17 more in the postseason. He’s gotten lost in the shuffle with the Lakers. He’s the de facto No. 4 point guard behind Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso, and has only played 22 minutes since the All-Star break. Cook is a solid 3-point shooter — 41.2% for his career — which would make him a valuable reserve on many rosters. The Lakers have until June 29 to guarantee Cook’s $3MM salary for next season. It seems likely he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, despite a $1MM partial guarantee.

Frank Kaminsky, Suns, 26, PF (Down) – Signed to two-year, $9.77MM deal in 2019
Kaminsky was in and out of Charlotte’s rotation last season, but he got a chance to reboot his career in Phoenix. The early returns were promising — he had four 20-point games in December. Shortly after Christmas, Kaminsky suffered a stress fracture in his right knee and he hasn’t seen the court again. The team holds a $5MM option on his contract next season. With Dario Saric and Aron Baynes headed to the open market, the Suns will have tough decision to make regarding Kaminsky, since that option must be exercised before free agency begins.

Alex Len, Kings, 26, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $8.5MM deal in 2018
Len has generally been productive since being dealt to Sacramento. He had a double-double in 21 minutes against Oklahoma City, an 8-point, 13-rebound, 5-block performance against Detroit and a 15-point, 7-rebound outing in 15 minutes against Toronto. His playing time will continue to fluctuate in the Kings’ crowded frontcourt. Sacramento’s motivation to acquire him was his expiring contract, but he definitely hasn’t hurt his value since the deal. He’ll head into unrestricted free agency this summer and should be able to hook on with a team seeking another big body to fortify its bench.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers Hoping to Keep Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris

The Clippers will try to re-sign Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris, who are both headed toward free agency this summer, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Harrell, 26, is in his third season in L.A. and has become one of the league’s best backup big men. A report from The Athletic earlier this season estimated he would receive offers between $20MM and $25MM annually, but Buha believes that number has declined because of Harrell’s deficiencies as a rebounder and rim protector, along with a market in which only seven teams will have cap room available.

Morris, 30, was acquired from the Knicks at the deadline to add frontline depth and a veteran presence. The Clippers will have his Non-Bird rights and can offer him up to $18MM, a 20% increase over his current $15MM salary.

Buha notes that the playoffs will factor into the decisions on both players, but L.A. appears to be in good position to keep them. The Clippers were able to stay under the tax line this season, which will delay the implementation of a repeater tax as the franchise heads into what should be a string of taxpayer years. Buha also points out that a weak free agent market limits the options for replacing Harrell and Morris if they leave.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Cousins, Morris Twins, LeBron

Anthony Davis has experienced a few injury scares during his first season with the Lakers, including one Friday night, but he’s ending concerns about his ability to stay healthy, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. Davis missed almost an entire quarter after bumping knees Friday with Jaren Jackson Jr., but returned to finish off a 28-point, 13-rebound, seven-block performance.

Davis has appeared in 47 of L.A.’s 54 games so far, with the only extended absence being caused by a hard fall in early January that resulted in lower back soreness. It’s a welcome change for Lakers’ fans after Davis’ injury-filled history in New Orleans.

“As long as they tell me it’s nothing serious, I’ll go out there and play,” Davis said. “You don’t know until you check all the boxes. But anytime they tell me I’m cleared and it’s not going to hurt me to go out there and play, I’m going to try to go out there and play.”

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • The Lakers plan to waive injured center DeMarcus Cousins today to open a roster spot for Markieff Morris, but Cousins will remain with the team while he rehabs his torn ACL, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link from Stadium). Despite not playing, Cousins has been a valuable addition to the locker room, Charania adds, and the organization enjoys having him around.
  • With Markieff headed to the Lakers, twin brother Marcus Morris, now on the Clippers, envisions a scenario where they carpool to a potential playoff series, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We’re two competitive guys, that’s gonna be like really fun,” Marcus said. “Probably gonna ride to the game together. That don’t bother us, to have to go out there and compete — we’re pros, and both of us gonna go hard and both are gonna do the best we can do for our team.”
  • Coach Frank Vogel is looking forward to having the playoff version of LeBron James on his side after frequently watching him from the opposing bench, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Vogel’s Pacers teams suffered three playoff losses to James when he was on the Heat, including twice in the Eastern Conference finals. “He knew everything we were running before we even called it out,” Vogel recalled. “He knew stuff was coming with his anticipation, and intelligence went into that. The determination of whatever it would take to beat us, that is what he was going to do.”

Knicks Notes: Miller, JVG, DSJ, Front Office

Although Mike Miller‘s hold on the Knicks‘ head coaching job beyond this season looks tenuous, multiple people within the organization support the idea of keeping Miller around in some capacity even if the team hires a new head coach, says Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Begley and Marc Berman of The New York Post both point out that Miller is on good terms with Jeff Van Gundy, who is expected to receive consideration for the head coaching job from new president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Berman, who suggests Miller could stay on as an assistant coach if Van Gundy were to be hired, notes that JVG expressed support for the current interim coach during an appearance on NBA SiriusXM Radio.

“Mike Miller, to me, deserves every opportunity to finish this season out and win the job,” Van Gundy said. “And I think anybody plotting as a coach to try to undermine that opportunity is doing it wrong.”

Talk of Miller’s job security was reignited this week when brand consultant Steve Stoute suggested during an ESPN appearance that the Knicks will be looking to replace Miller this spring. The team and Stoute himself released statements hours later disavowing those comments. Interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry was among those “particularly bent out of shape” by Stoute’s comments on ESPN, a source tells Berman.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that Marcus Morris lobbied earlier this season for Dennis Smith Jr. – with whom he shares an agent – to receive more playing time. Smith, who lost an advocate when the Knicks traded Morris last week, has appeared in the team’s last eight contests, but logged fewer than eight minutes in each of the last two games.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday suggests (via Twitter) that Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas may be a name to watch as the Knicks seek an experienced basketball executive to work with Leon Rose in their new-look front office. However, Popper cautions (via Twitter) that Karnisovas signed an extension with Denver last year.
  • Before the Knicks decided on Rose for their president of basketball operations opening, there was speculation that Kevin Durant‘s manager Rich Kleiman could be a candidate for the job. That wasn’t the case, according to Kleiman, who tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv that he never heard from the club.
  • Tom Thibodeau has been cited as a potential head coaching candidate for the Knicks, and while Taj Gibson isn’t openly campaigning for his former coach, he believes Thibodeau can have success in today’s NBA. “He’s been misunderstood,” Gibson said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “A lot of players have different mindsets. His mindset is winning. To win games you got to go through a lot of hard work. Sometimes young players don’t understand it.”

L.A. Notes: LeBron, Johnson, Clippers, Morris

LeBron James‘ name was one of 44 included on USA Basketball’s preliminary list of finalists for the program’s 2020 Olympic roster on Monday. Many of the players on that list won’t get the opportunity to suit up for Team USA in Tokyo, but it’s safe to say that one of the final 12 roster spots will be reserved for James — if he wants it. For now, he’s not ready to fully commit, as Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times relays.

“It’s always predicated on: one, my body, how my body is feeling at the end of the season — I hope to make a long playoff run,” James said. “And then where my mind is and then where my family’s head is. So it’s a lot of factors, but my name is in the hat.”

It was no surprise that James and Anthony Davis were among the 44 names on Team USA’s list on Monday. Kyle Kuzma‘s inclusion wasn’t a shock either, since he participated in the program’s World Cup camp last fall. Two more Lakers were also on the list — JaVale McGee and former Team USA center Dwight Howard.

“Spectacular,” James said of the Lakers having five players on the list. “It’s amazing. We’re very well represented with the Lake Show representing the red, white and blue. So it’s a pretty cool thing.”

Here’s more on the Lakers and their L.A. rivals, the Clippers:

  • After being waived by Phoenix on Monday, Tyler Johnson is on track to clear waivers on Wednesday. Chris Mannix of SI.com writes that both the Lakers and Clippers are “expected to check in” on the veteran guard.
  • Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register examines the Lakers‘ options on the buyout market, suggesting that injured big man DeMarcus Cousins may not be the player released if the team needs a roster spot, since he’s close to Anthony Davis and others on the roster.
  • Speaking of Davis, he told reporters on Monday that he’s confident the Lakers have a championship-caliber roster even after standing pat at the trade deadline (video link via ESPN).
  • The Clippers were active at the deadline, acquiring Marcus Morris from New York in a three-team trade. Jovan Buha of The Athletic spoke to the new Clippers forward about joining a title contender, the team’s 2019 free agent pitch to him, and his fit. “You can put me anywhere,” Morris said. “I can space out really well, give guys space, score it any way. I’m just ready to do what it takes for the team to win. I’m excited to get started, but you’re going to see how well I fit. … I think it’s going to be very beneficial for both sides.”

Scotto’s Latest: Gallinari, Nunn, Pacers, Nuggets, More

When the Thunder and Heat discussed a potential Danilo Gallinari trade leading up to last week’s deadline, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, and draft compensation were among the various assets that came up in talks, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Miami reportedly wanted to extend Gallinari’s contract as part of a deal, but couldn’t agree to terms with his camp, which is one main reason the trade didn’t happen.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last week that he believed the Heat could’ve acquired Gallinari without surrendering any of their young players like Nunn. So even though his name came up in discussions, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Thunder would have insisted on his inclusion, depending on what other pieces were involved.

While Gallinari remained with the Thunder for this season, Scotto suggests the Heat and Knicks could be among his potential suitors this summer. Miami clearly has interest, and created some cap flexibility for 2020/21 by moving Johnson and Dion Waiters last week. New York, meanwhile, will have cap space and is hiring veteran CAA agent Leon Rose as its new president of basketball operations. Gallinari is a CAA client.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Scotto’s look at the post-deadline landscape:

  • The Knicks and Pacers discussed a possible Marcus Morris trade. According to Scotto, a package that featured Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. Leaf was “briefly kicked around,” but didn’t end up going far.
  • McDermott’s name also came up in discussions about a potential Pacers trade with the Bucks involving Ersan Ilyasova, says Scotto. It’s not known which team initiated those talks.
  • Before the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond, they called the Pacers to ask about Myles Turner‘s availability, per Scotto. Indiana has remained firm on keeping Turner, though many executives expect the team to eventually break up its Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt.
  • The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez as part of a package for Bulls guard Zach LaVine or Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, sources tell Scotto. New Orleans set a very high asking price for Holiday, while LaVine was said to be “off-limits” for Chicago, so Denver didn’t get far on either front.

Clippers Notes: Morris, Beverley, Noah, Collison

The Clippers believe newly-acquired Marcus Morris will have a smooth transition to his new team, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Morris was averaging a career-best 19.6 points per game with the Knicks and shooting 43.9% from beyond the arc before Thursday’s trade. Clippers officials expect him to provide an upgrade offensively over Maurice Harkless, who was sent to New York in the deal.

“There may be no better fit than Marcus,” general manager Michael Winger said.

In addition to his scoring prowess, Morris brings another dose of on-court toughness that the organization prides itself on. He’s joining a pair of former teammates in Patrick Beverley and Patrick Patterson, who played alongside him in Houston.

“My brother back with me. It’s on,” Beverley tweeted after the trade was announced.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • Coach Doc Rivers said the team did plenty of background work on Morris before the deal and was pleased with the responses, tweets Jovah Buha of The Athletic. “A lot of research goes into when you make a trade, especially with this team and where we’re trying to go,” Rivers said. “You can’t take any chances. You have to make sure guys are a good fit. … All the intel we had was very positive.” Rivers plans to experiment with some smaller lineups using Morris and JaMychal Green surrounded by three shooters (Twitter link).
  • Meeting with reporters tonight, Morris said the Clippers made a positive impression when he met with them in free agency, even though he wound up with the Knicks, relays Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). “I could tell that the main goal here was trying to win a championship and that’s something that I wanted to be part of,” Morris said. “Obviously last summer some things didn’t go the way I thought it would, but we here now, $15MM richer.”
  • Joakim Noah remains an option for the Clippers, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. A minor injury forced Noah to cancel a workout with L.A. just before training camp opened in September, but the 34-year-old center has been targeting a return once buyout season began. A source tells Heavy that Noah is fully healthy and “has been working on maintaining his conditioning and is hopeful that he’ll play this season.”
  • Even if Darren Collison decides against returning to the NBA this season, that may not mark the end of his career, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. Collison, who is expected to decide soon and prefers to join the Clippers or Lakers, could put off his comeback until summer.

Clippers Acquire Marcus Morris In Three-Team Trade

7:37pm: The Clippers, Wizards, Knicks have issued press releases officially announcing this three-team trade sending Morris to the Clips.

Meanwhile, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic clarifies (via Twitter) that the Knicks only have the rights to swap their own 2021 first-round pick with the Clippers’ 2021 first-rounder — New York can’t swap Dallas’ 2021 first-rounder selection for L.A.’s.

1:45pm: The Clippers and Knicks have reached an agreement on a trade that will send Marcus Morris to Los Angeles, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the return for Morris will feature Maurice Harkless and multiple draft picks, including the Clippers’ 2020 first-rounder.

The deal will also include a third team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that the Wizards will acquire Jerome Robinson from the Clippers, sending Isaiah Thomas to L.A.

The Knicks will get Detroit’s 2021 second-round pick from the Clippers, as well as the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in ’21, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (via Twitter). That pick swap will have top-four protection, adds Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter). Draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon will also go to New York (from Washington), tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic.

When Charania previously reported that the Knicks and Clippers were in serious discussions about Morris, Jovan Buha of The Athletic suggested that Los Angeles was offering Harkless, Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann and its 2020 first-round pick. The final package for the Knicks is heavier on draft assets than NBA players, with Kabengele and Mann remaining in L.A.

Morris, 30, is having a career year in New York, with averages of 19.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG to go along with a .442/.439/.823 shooting line in 43 games (32.3 MPG). The Knicks were initially believed to be leaning toward keeping him and trying to re-sign him in free agency this summer, but changed course following Steve Mills‘ removal from the president of basketball operations role earlier this week.

Morris will join a talented Clippers frontcourt that features star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), the team plans to start all three players when everyone’s healthy, alongside Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac.

The Lakers were among the other teams with interest in Morris, but were reportedly unwilling to include both Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green in a potential deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Deadline Rumors: Warriors, Oubre, Valentine, J. Robinson

The Warriors remain in the market for further deals after reaching agreement on a trade that sends D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. If nothing else happens today, more roster shake-up is expected this summer.

Antony Slater of the Athletic notes that Golden State has traded six of the 14 players on its roster in the past two weeks (Twitter link). In addition to Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans have all found new homes.

There’s more deadline-related news to pass along:

  • The Suns are listening to offers for Kelly Oubre, but aren’t close to making a deal, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Post. The Magic are among the teams that have made a call to Phoenix.
  • The Bulls aren’t any closer to trading Denzel Valentine, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards are hoping to acquire Jerome Robinson from the Clippers, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. They liked Robinson in the 2018 draft, but he wound up in L.A.
  • The Knicks contacted the Pacers about point guard Aaron Holiday, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. The attempt was made before Steve Mills was fired as team president, and it’s unclear if there has been any more discussion. Indiana reportedly brought up veteran forward Marcus Morris, who is headed to the Clippers, as part of the return.