Marcus Morris

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 MassLive.com (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 SI.com, 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 ESPN.com. 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 Cleveland.com 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.
  • NBA.com’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 NBA.com“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 NBA.com. 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.”

Injury Notes: Smart, Love, Ingram, Wall

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is making progress in rehabbing a torn ligament in his right thumb and hopes to be available for the second round of the playoffs, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

A cast on his hand was recently replaced by a splint with an opening at the top that allows him to move his thumb, and he has been able to do some light exercises with the injured digit. Smart tore the ligament earlier this month and underwent surgery March 16. His original prognosis had him out six to eight weeks, which sets a potential return about the time of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“Definitely right now, that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. “The way it’s going now, we’re on the right path. Hopefully nothing happens where it gets delayed.”

There are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Kevin Love has been placed in concussion protocol and will miss tonight’s game, the Cavaliers announced on their website. He suffered a front tooth sublexation last night and experienced concussion-like symptoms at halftime.
  • After missing nearly four weeks with a strained groin, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram expects to return tonight, tweets Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sports Net.
  • Coach Luke Walton says Lakers rookie Josh Hart has looked good in three-on-three games and may be cleared to play Friday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • John Wall, who has been sidelined since having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late January, may be able to return tomorrow, according to a tweet from the Wizards. Coach Scott Brooks said Wall will participate in the team’s shootaround and a decision will be based on how the knee responds. He is officially listed as questionable.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is targeting Friday to return from a fractured right hand, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “I hope to play a few minutes against Portland [Friday],” Gallinari said in an interview with Italian outlet Sky Sport. “The hand is not completely healed, but we’ll see how I can help the team in the games left in the regular season. I will try to bite the bullet for the playoff race. The franchise asked me to grit my teeth and play. I will try to do that.”
  • After re-injuring his right ankle Monday, Celtics forward Marcus Morris will sit out tonight’s game, according to a tweet from the team. He will probably return Saturday, according to Himmelsbach (Twitter link).
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens provided an another update on Gordon Hayward, saying he’s still limited to the Alter-G treadmill and hasn’t been cleared to run on the court (Twitter link). “There will be nothing more exciting for him than being able to get back out on the basketball court,” Stevens said (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman may be cleared to return to action after a hip flexor injury. He tweeted an image of himself accompanied by the word, “finally.”
  • Jazz center Tony Bradley has cleared concussion protocol, tweets Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News.

Injury Notes: Ajinca, Neto, Ross, Morris, Williams

A lost season for Alexis Ajinca went from bad to worse this week, as the Pelicans big man underwent surgery on his left patellar tendon, according to the team (Twitter link). The procedure was successful and Ajinca is on track to recover in four to six months, which would allow him to return for the start of the 2018/19 season. However, it must have been a frustrating development for Ajinca, who underwent the same procedure on his right patellar tendon in December.

Here are a few more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • Jazz point guard Raul Neto remains sidelined with a left wrist fracture and will be re-evaluated one week from today, the Jazz announced in a press release. Dante Exum‘s return and solid play have allowed Utah to cope with Neto’s absence without any major trouble.
  • Injured Magic swingman Terrence Ross continues to recover from a bone bruise he suffered around the All-Star break, and may not make it back onto the court before season’s end. According to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link), head coach Frank Vogel said today that it’s probably unlikely that Ross plays another game this season.
  • Already hit hard by the injury bug, the Celtics saw Marcus Morris leave Monday’s game in the fourth quarter due to a sprained right ankle. As an ESPN report details, X-rays came back negative, so Morris may not be looking at an extended absence — that would be a relief for the C’s, who could use some good injury news.
  • After missing nearly the entire 2017/18 season with a knee injury, Suns big man Alan Williams returned to action on Monday night, putting up three points and five rebounds in 16 minutes. Williams has a non-guaranteed $5.52MM salary for 2018/19, so team management will want to take a close look at him down the stretch this season.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Irving, Morris, Thomas, McCarty

As indicated in previous stories, Marcus Smart is expected to miss about six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. The plan is for Smart to return to action should the Celtics make it to the second round of the playoffs and, per Chris Forsberg of ESPN, Smart is supremely confident that he will be able to return this postseason.

“I am confident [I’ll be back for the playoffs],” Smart said Monday night. “I had one of the top [hand] doctors do it. The surgery was a success… I’m real, real, real excited and eager to get back out there, whenever that is, hopefully it’s sooner than later, like I said. Hopefully the team can and, like I think they’re gonna do, is handle their business and have me back [in the postseason].”

Smart originally thought his injury was only a sprain, and even after further testing revealed more extensive ligament damage, he weighed non-surgical treatment options before finally deciding on having the surgery when doctors told him he risked further complications that might force him out of action for a longer period of time should he have tried to play before undergoing the procedure.

“The first [thing] was could I damage it any more?” Smart said. “When we went to get the second opinion, they said the same thing: The ligament is torn completely. There’s nothing else you can do. Then there was, ‘OK, could I possibly play with it and get the surgery afterwards?’ That came into play and when she said — the doctor pretty much said, ‘If it was me, I would get this now. The longer you wait, the harder it [will be] and cause more complications. So just get it over with and then there’s a possibility you could be back sooner than you thought.'”

There’s more out of Boston:

  • All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving plans on obtaining a second opinion later this week for his ailing left knee, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
  • Marcus Morris was fined $15K for “verbal abuse of a game official,” it was announced today by the NBA. The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Celtics’ 19-point loss to New Orleans on Sunday.
  • Former Celtic and soon-to-be free agent guard Isaiah Thomas is willing to return to Boston next season, reports NBC Sports Boston. Asked on Twitter whether he would consider a reunion this offseason, Thomas tweeted, “Anything can happen.”
  • Celtics assistant coach and former player Walter McCarty will interview for the head coaching vacancy at the University of Evansville, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Born and raised in Evansville, IN, McCarty is looking to become a head coach for the first time after also having spent time as an assistant at the University of Louisville and with the Pacers.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Simmons, Morris, Celtics

Markelle Fultz missed his 64th game of the season on Friday, which means time is running out on the possibility of his return this season. The Sixers‘ first-round pick (first overall) has missed most of the season with a shoulder injury that seems to have inhibited his shooting ability.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown gave his most definitive answer about Fultz’s status for the remainder of the year, saying he is unsure if the young guard will be able to return, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“I truly don’t know,” Brown said. “Here I am telling you that. It’s that whole truth and nothing but the truth. I really don’t know.”

While Fultz is out with a shoulder injury, the specific reason for his absence is to relearn how to shoot. Either way, the Sixers likely will not get a significant contribution out of Fultz until next season at the earliest.

Check out more notes out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers have Ben Simmons listed as both a point guard and power forward and head coach Brett Brown can see a path for the Australian to play at the four exclusively. While Simmons does not mind playing the power forward, he prefers being a point guard, Pompey writes in a separate story. “Nah,” Simmons said. “I don’t want to play the four. I mean I’ll play the four, but I don’t want to be predominantly in the four position. I feel like I can do a lot more from the point-guard position as you’ve seen.”
  • The injury bug has hit the Celtics hard in recently as Daniel TheisMarcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown suffered season-altering injuries. In the wake of those health issues, Marcus Morris is the first Boston player to step up and take advantage of his new spot in the starting lineup, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston relays. Morris scored 31 points on Wednesday vs. Washington.
  • The Celtics are without Theis, Smart, Brown, and Gordon Hayward and it’s possible the team explores adding a player to offset the losses. Per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter links), if a league doctor feels Brown could miss two more weeks due to his concussion, the Celtics could be granted a 16th roster spot to add another player. However, Boston is optimistic Brown will return soon, which would make the team ineligible for the hardship provision.