Markieff Morris

Contract Details: Magic, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, More

The free agency deals began a week ago, but the details of those arrangements are slowly trickling in as they become official. Let’s take a look at some contract notes from players around the league:

  • Nikola Vucevic’s four-year, $100MM deal with the Magic will decline by 8% annually, Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights tweets. Vucevic will make roughly $28.4MM in the first year of his front-loaded contract.
  • Terrence Ross‘ four-year, $52MM contract with the Magic will start at $12.5MM, per Siegel. Ross will make $13.5MM during the 2020/21 season, followed by $12.5MM and $11.5MM in the two ensuing years.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu will take home the full non-taxpayer’s mid-level on his deal with the Magic. He’ll make approximately $9.3MM during his first season and approximately $9.7MM and $10.2MM, respectively, over the ensuing two campaigns.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s two year deal with the Lakers is worth approximately $16.6MM in total value. KCP can make roughly $1.2MM in annual incentives on top of that amount, a source tells Siegel (Twitter link). The shooting guard has a player option on the second year of the pact, which also has a 15% trade bonus. Since his deal could be a one-year contract (if he chooses to turn down the player option), Caldwell-Pope has a default no-trade clause.
  • JaVale McGee also has a player option on the final year of his two-year deal with the Lakers, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. McGee, who will make $8.2MM over the length of his contract, also has the ability to veto a trade.
  • Markieff Morris‘ two-year deal with the Pistons contains a second-year player option, Smith tweets. Morris was signed via the bi-annual exception.
  • Bruno Fernando‘s three-year deal with the Hawks is worth $4.7MM, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. It appears Atlanta will be using cap space to sign the rookie.
  • Tomas Satoransky final season of the three-year, $30MM deal with the Bulls is only guaranteed for $5MM, Fred Katz of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Chicago brought the point guard to town via sign-and-trade.

Pistons Sign Markieff Morris

JULY 6: The Pistons have officially signed Morris, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 3: The Pistons have reached an agreement to sign free agent forward Markieff Morris, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’ll be a two-year deal, a league source tells Jordan Schultz of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The Pistons will use their bi-annual exception to sign Morris, tweets James Edwards III of The Athletic. He’ll get the full $3.6MM, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press adds (via Twitter), so it’ll have a total two-year value of about $7.4MM.

Morris, 29, started the 2018/19 season with the Wizards before being sent to the Pelicans in a deadline deal. New Orleans waived him, paving the way for him to sign with the Thunder to finish the season.

It was a down year for Morris, who battled back and neck issues. In 58 total games (21.9 MPG) for the Wizards and Thunder, he averaged 9.4 PPG and 4.6 RPG, his lowest marks since his first two seasons in the league. He’ll be looking to bounce back with the Pistons.

Markieff will become the second Morris twin to play for the Pistons — his brother Marcus Morris was on the roster for two seasons from 2015-17 before being dealt to Boston.

And-Ones: Irving, Lakers, Robinson, Morris

Kyrie Irving remains as much of a target for the Lakers as Kawhi Leonard is, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Earlier today, Los Angeles was able to amend the Anthony Davis trade agreement, giving them the ability to carve out roughly $32MM in cap room.

Irving seems likely to join Brooklyn, but that won’t stop the Lakers from making an attempt to lure the point guard to the team. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • Former No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson will play in the summer league for the Spurs, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Robinson most recently played in the G League for the Red Claws, the affiliate of the Celtics.
  • Markieff Morris is unlikely to re-sign with the Thunder, Maddie Lee of the Oklahoman writes. The scribe details how many players who sign during buyout season end up switching teams come the offseason.
  • Damyean Dotson believes the Knicks will be fine even if they don’t land a big star in free agency this summer, as Marc Berman of the New York Post passes along. “We have a full team of young guys,” Dotson said. “My teammates Allonzo [Trier], Kev [Kevin Knox] Mitchell [Robinson], [R.J. Barrett], we’re rising stars. We can build together and one day become a great team if we work hard keep listening to coach [David Fizdale]. All the guys played last year got experience.”

 

Knicks Notes: Stars, Harris, Randle

The Knicks are heading into the offseason the ability to carve out cap space for two max contracts. Kevin Durant has long been rumored as a target, though he isn’t the only star they will shoot for.

The team is hopeful about getting a meeting with Kawhi Leonard, sources tell Marc Spears of The Undefeated. New York also has interest in Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving.

Whispers that the Knicks wouldn’t look to the next level of stars should they strike out on the top of the market began to surface recently. However, Spears hears that the front office is interested in Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic, both player that GM Scott Perry knows from his time in the Magic organization.

While Harris and Vucevic are considered a tier below the Durant-Leonard-level stars, both players are expected to garner max contracts on the open market. Here’s more from Spears on the Knicks:

  • New York and Julius Randle have a mutual interest, sources tell Spears. Randle has previously been linked to the franchise.
  • DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Markieff Morris, and Marcus Morris are among the players on the Knicks’ radar, Spears writes. Jordan is reportedly a target of the crosstown Nets.
  • The Knicks‘ reputation has come a long way in just two years. No. 3 overall pick R.J. Barrett openly declared that he wanted to be in New York leading up to the draft. Team president Steve Mills said that in 2017, several Kentucky prospects didn’t want to meet with the team during the pre-draft process. “It was frustrating for me because I had never been in a situation where, especially rookies, there was a narrative amongst the young guys that they didn’t want to come play for the Knicks,” Mills said. “They didn’t want to meet with us in Chicago. I said, ‘We’ve got to change that and start with the young guys.’ ”
  • Mills added that the front office has the green light to take a patient approach this offseason should the team miss out on stars. “If the right guys are there for us, great, because we still have all the young pieces and draft picks to move forward,” Mills tells Spears.“And if they’re not, we’re going to keep building our plan, drafting our guys, playing well and potentially being trade partners. We feel really good about where we are going.”

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Western Conference

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. With the playoffs in full swing, we turn our attention to the Western Conference:

Patrick Beverley, Clippers, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23MM deal in 2015
Taking a charge while holding one his shoes that came loose epitomizes how Beverley and his team have played during the series. There’s a huge talent gap between them and the Warriors but they refuse to give an inch. Beverley has done a whole lot more than get under Kevin Durant‘s skin. He’s second on the team in assists and rebounds through the first five games while shooting 42.9% from deep. In Games 4 and 5, he averaged 14.5 PPG, 12 RPG and 4.5 APG. Beverley will get a nice raise this summer, whether he lands a starting job or a sixth man role.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, 28, SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $30MM deal in 2015
Portland’s glue guy played an underrated role in the team’s first-round knockout of the Thunder. He was second on the team in defensive rebounds, a major factor with Jusuf Nurkic sidelined. He also led the team in blocks, was second in steals and shot 40.9% from distance, along with providing his usual solid defense. Aminu doesn’t dazzle but he quietly does his job. Reliable, durable role players like Aminu will always have suitors and he’ll receive a full mid-level exception or more on the open market.

Jordan Bell, Warriors, 24, PF/C (Down) — Signed to a two-year, $2.2MM deal in 2017
DeMarcus Cousins‘ season-ending injury hasn’t helped Bell get on the court. He only played 14 minutes in the first five games against the Clippers and was benched in Games 4 and 5. Bell’s immaturity has irked the staff, including a late-season suspension for making unauthorized charges to assistant coach Mike Brown‘s hotel room. Bell can be a restricted free agent if the Warriors extend a $1.8MM qualifying offer, but the 2017 second-round pick doesn’t appear to have a future with the organization.

Markieff Morris, Wizards, 29, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $57.3K deal in 2019
Brother Marcus Morris ripped the Thunder coaching staff over Markieff’s limited role during the postseason. Markieff only played four minutes in the 118-115 Game 5 loss to Portland that ended the Thunder’s season. He wasn’t much of a factor in the first four games of the season, when he averaged around 13 MPG. Markieff praised the organization afterward but his minimal impact won’t help in unrestricted free agency. Add in the neck issue that limited him to 58 regular-season games and Morris won’t have teams beating down his door.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thunder Notes: Roberson, George, Morris, Noel

Thunder swingman Andre Roberson, who has missed the last season and a half due to knee problems, is on track to be ready for training camp this fall, he told reporters, including Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman, during his end-of-season presser on Thursday. Roberson, who initially suffered a patellar tendon tear, estimates that he was about 85-95% recovered when he suffered a major setback in the form of an avulsion fracture.

“By me rupturing my patellar tendon it kind of shut off the blood supply to the patellar bone, which causes it to be weaker,” Roberson said. “And then when I was coming back I was working harder than the revascularizing of the tendon was happening, so you kind of see where the problem was there, and we did not know that at the time, unfortunately.”

Before his injury, Roberson was one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. If he returns to anywhere near that form, the Thunder will have happy to get him back in their lineup for the final year of his contract in 2019/20. He’ll earn $10.74MM before reaching free agency in 2020.

Here’s more out of Oklahoma City:

  • As Lee details in another story for The Oklahoman, Paul George hinted today that he may undergo surgery on his troublesome right shoulder during the offseason. “I will address it soon,” George said. “Try to get it fixed and get back out there come this next season.”
  • Markieff Morris was extremely complimentary of the Thunder today, calling it the best stop of his career from an organizational standpoint, tweets Brett Dawson of The Athletic. However, Morris didn’t express much interest in returning to play the same role he had down the stretch this season. The veteran forward averaged a career-low 16.1 MPG in 24 regular season games with the Thunder, then just 11.8 MPG in five postseason contests.
  • Nerlens Noel‘s minimum salary contract with Oklahoma City features a 2019/20 player option, but he’s not ready to commit one way or the other on it. As Dawson tweets, Noel said today that he’ll let his agent figure that out. I’d be a little surprised if Noel doesn’t seek at least a modest raise on the open market after a solid season as Steven Adams‘ backup.
  • With the Thunder’s offseason underway, Sean Deveney of Sporting News examines the major decisions facing the franchise, while ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) previews their summer from a cap perspective. Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, meanwhile, explored the challenges of building a roster around Russell Westbrook.
  • We opened up our own discussion on the Thunder’s offseason on Wednesday.

Western Notes: Morris, Fournier, Kanter, Booker

Celtics forward Marcus Morris believes Thunder coach Billy Donovan made a big mistake by using his brother Markieff Morris sparingly during their playoff series against Portland, Jay King of The Athletic reports.

Markieff Morris chose to play with Oklahoma City after reaching a buyout with New Orleans, which acquired him from the Wizards at the trade deadline. Markieff played just four minutes in Game 5 and between 13 and 15 minutes in the other games of the series won by the Trail Blazers, 4-1.

“I’m not a coach or anything like that, but I feel like they just didn’t utilize their bench enough. I feel like my brother went over there for no reason,” Marcus said. “He never got an opportunity to play. I thought that he would really help them in the playoffs, but from what I seen he should have went somewhere else just to be able to show that veteran leadership and that experience.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Trail Blazers made an offer for Magic swingman Evan Fournier that Orlando passed on prior to the trade deadline, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets. Portland was willing to ship a roster player and a protected first-rounder for Fournier, who will make $17MM next season and holds a player option on his $17MM salary for the 2020/21 season.
  • Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter played with a separated left shoulder in Game 5, Kevin Pelton of ESPN reports. Kanter suffered the injury during the opening quarter but managed to play 32 minutes. He received a pain-killing injection at halftime. Kanter averaged 13.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG in the series as the primary replacement for injured Jusuf Nurkic. Portland would have to rely more on Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard in the conference semifinals if Kanter is forced to miss any games.
  • Suns star guard Devin Booker had no input in the firing of coach Igor Kokoskov, GM James Jones told the Arizona Republic’s Katherine Fitzgerald and other media members. “I speak to Devin, I speak to all of our players, about our organization. But in these instances, this isn’t a decision for Devin to make. This is my decision,” Jones said. That’s curious, since Booker indicated after signing his five-year maximum salary extension that he’d have a say in all major moves going forward.  I think it’s a collective agreement. Moving forward, throwing in any advice I can, stay in the loop and watch what’s going on and know what’s going on,” Booker said last month.
  • The Rockets held a predraft workout on Wednesday that included Mississippi guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, Washington guard Jalyen Nowell and Campbell guard Chris Clemons, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.  Houston does not currently own a pick in this year’s draft. Nowell is the highest-ranked prospect among the trio, as he’s ranked No. 87 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest 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 turn our attention to the Northwest Division:

Isaiah Thomas, Nuggets, 30, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2018
The sad and swift decline in Thomas’ career hit a new low a couple of weeks ago when the veteran was informed by Nuggets coach Michael Malone he would not be in the rotation going forward. Thomas didn’t even make his season debut until mid-February due to his hip condition. He has only seen action in one game since March 8 — a scoreless seven-minute stint in Boston, where his career peaked two seasons ago when he averaged 28.9 PPG. Thomas will probably have to settle for another one year, “show me” contract this summer.

Tyus Jones, Timberwolves, 22, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6.54MM deal in 2015
Jones has received steady playing time since late February and is now the starter by default with Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose out for the rest of the season. He isn’t much of a scoring threat but he rarely turns the ball over. He’s averaging less than one turnover per game in 25.8 MPG this month. Teague has a $19MM option on his contract for next season and is expected to exercise it, so Jones’ starting gig probably won’t last. The Timberwolves can make Jones a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer of $3.57MM and that seems likely, given his age and steady hand at the point.

Markieff Morris, Thunder, 29, SF/PF (Down) — Signed to a one-year, $573K deal in 2019
The above salary figure doesn’t reflect that Morris was making $8.6MM before he was traded by the Wizards to the Pelicans, who waived him. He seemed to be walking into a good situation with a playoff-bound team but hasn’t made much of an impact. He’s averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 15.9 MPG in 17 appearances with Oklahoma City. He played just seven scoreless minutes against Indiana on Wednesday. Morris brings enough to the table to be a rotation piece but it’s increasing unlikely he’ll get a starter-level offer on the open market.

Enes Kanter, Trail Blazers, 26, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $653K deal in 2019
Jusuf Nurkic‘s gruesome leg injury changes the outlook for Kanter in the short- and long-term. He’ll suddenly be playing heavy minutes for Portland, which signed him as a backup after the Knicks reached a buyout agreement with him on his $18.6MM salary this season. A productive postseason by Kanter should enhance his prospects as an unrestricted free agent. He’s not going to make anyone’s All-Defense team but he’s a double-double machine when he plays half the game. While it seems Kanter has been around for awhile, he’s still only 26 and in the prime of his career.

Derrick Favors, Jazz, 27, PF (Up)– Signed to a two-year, $37.6MM deal in 2018
Favors’ $16.9MM contract for next season isn’t guaranteed unless he’s on the roster through July 6. That seemed unlikely from the time he signed the deal but it’s not a given the Jazz will let him go. That salary isn’t outrageous for a starter and the Jazz have plenty of cap room to absorb that salary. Plus, they’d need to have a solid plan to replace Favors, who has posted a 21.9 PER this season. Favors nearly got dealt to Memphis for Mike Conley and Utah could use his expiring contract in a blockbuster trade next season if it retains him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Markieff Morris Doesn’t Want To “Force Things” With Thunder

Markieff Morris, who recently signed with the Thunder, is still learning Oklahoma City’s playbook and he’s trying to make an impact while fitting in with his new squad.

“For me, you just want to be a help to the team,” Morris tells Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman. “You don’t want to come in and force things. You want everything to go smooth, how they went before you got here. So for me just getting acclimated to the offense and defense, playing with the guys.”

Morris has switched teams during the season once before. The Suns sent him to the Wizards during the 2015/16 campaign. The forward said he watches film on his new teammates in order to acclimate himself with his new squad.

Morris spent the first half of this season with the Wizards before suffering a neck injury. He was sent to the Pelicans in a trade for Wesley Johnson prior to the trade deadline.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Morris, Thomas, Layman

Scotty Hopson and Richard Solomon are both back on the free agent market after their 10-day contracts with the Thunder expired, according to the Real GM transactions page. Oklahoma City signed both players shortly before the All-Star break to reach the NBA’s roster limit. The team is back down to 13 players and will have two weeks to fill at least one opening.

Neither player saw any court time in OKC. Solomon has yet to appear in an NBA game, while Hopson played two games with the Cavaliers during the 2013/14 season and one with the Mavericks last year.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Markieff Morris has found a perfect opportunity with the Thunder, his twin brother said in a comment tweeted by Jay King of The Athletic. Markieff signed with Oklahoma City after reaching a buyout with the Pelicans, who acquired him from the Wizards at the trade deadline. “I think that’s a great fit for him,” Marcus Morris said. “… I don’t think they have a guy like him over there. … I think he could be that piece that helps them battle it out with Golden State.”
  • Isaiah Thomas‘ return to action adds one more player to an already deep Nuggets backcourt and could present Michael Malone with his greatest coaching challenge of the season, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. In two games since returning from his latest hip surgery, Thomas has scored 24 points in 29 minutes and could be a valuable weapon off the bench for the rest of the season. Malone, who already had five guards that were getting regular playing time, unveiled a three-guard lineup Friday that had Thomas, Monte Morris and Gary Harris on the court together. “If we have to adjust, we will,” Malone said, “but playing small, you got three playmakers out there that can all generate shots for their teammates and get their own shot in Monte, in Isaiah, in Gary Harris. That’s a pretty good bench unit, if you ask me.”
  • Jake Layman has become a “secret weapon” for the Trail Blazers, notes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. A second-round pick in 2016, Layman saw little action during his first two NBA seasons, but has made a breakthrough this year through a combination of shooting and athleticism.