Markieff Morris

Eastern Notes: Sumner, Nets, Morris, Westbrook, Heat, Celtics

Four-year NBA veteran Edmond Sumner is planning to bring grit to the Nets this season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Sumner signed with Brooklyn in free agency this offseason.

At 6’6″, the 26-year-old established himself as a valuable rotation player before tearing his Achilles’ last year. He averaged 7.5 points per game with the Pacers in 2020/21, shooting 40% from deep in 53 contests.

“He just doesn’t miss days, he doesn’t skip workouts,” Sumner’s trainer, Mike Robertson, said. “That’s a testament to who he is and the kind of guy that you’re getting there. He’s just a great human being. He’s going to punch the clock, he’s going to continue to not just work hard for himself but to lift the others up around him. And he’s just a world-class human being. [Nets fans] are going to love him.” 

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Nets owner Joe Tsai made a personal recruiting pitch to Markieff Morris before Brooklyn signed him, Marc Stein writes for Substack. Morris is expected to provide the Nets with frontcourt depth and could play small-ball five at times. He dealt with a neck injury after an altercation with Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic last season, playing only 17 games with Miami.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines whether the Heat could have interest in Russell Westbrook in the event that he’s eventually bought out by the Lakers or another team. While Westbrook’s future with Los Angeles is unclear, he may not be a stellar fit alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The 33-year-old is currently on track to reach free agency next summer.
  • Steve Bulpett of explores a number of Celtics-related topics in his latest mailbag, including Jaylen Brown‘s ball-handling. Brown struggled to take care of the ball at times last season, averaging 3.5 assists and 3.1 turnovers per game during the postseason. He still held respectable playoff averages of 23.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest, shooting 47% from the floor.

Contract Details: M. Morris, Vonleh, M. Hill, Blazers

Markieff Morris‘ one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nets is non-guaranteed for now, but the veteran forward will receive a partial guarantee worth $500K if he isn’t waived on or before the first day of the regular season, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Morris’ partial guarantee would increase to $1MM if he hasn’t been cut by December 10. He would lock in his full $2,905,581 minimum salary (only $1,836,090 counts against the Nets’ cap) after the league-wide guarantee date in January, assuming he remains under contract.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Noah Vonleh‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Celtics, which is now official, includes an Exhibit 9 clause, but not an Exhibit 10. Teams generally include Exhibit 10 clauses in order to either convert a contract to a two-way deal or because they expect the player to suit up for their G League affiliate. Vonleh isn’t eligible for a two-way deal and it appears there are no plans to have him join the Maine Celtics if he doesn’t make Boston’s regular season roster.
  • Malcolm Hill accepted his two-way qualifying offer from the Bulls, Hoops Rumors has confirmed, so his two-way deal only covers one year — he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023.
  • As expected, the four camp invitees signed by the Trail BlazersDevontae Cacok, Olivier Sarr, Jared Rhoden, and Isaiah Miller – all received Exhibit 10 contracts. Portland doesn’t have a G League affiliate, so those players won’t receive Exhibit 10 bonuses, but their contracts could be converted into two-way deals.

Markieff Morris Signs With Nets

SEPTEMBER 7: The Nets have officially signed Morris, the team announced today in a press release. As previously reported, Morris’ new deal is said to be non-guaranteed.

AUGUST 30: The Nets will add veteran forward Markieff Morris on a one-year contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Morris spent last season with the Heat, but appeared in just 17 games after suffering a neck injury. He averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per night and likely would have played a much larger role if he hadn’t been hurt.

Brooklyn will be the seventh NBA team for Morris, who entered the league in 2011. He has become mainly a bench player over the past four years and was an effective reserve for the Lakers during his last healthy season in 2020/21.

Morris, who signed minimum-salary deals with both L.A. and Miami, will likely get the same arrangement from the Nets. He may be seen as a replacement for LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, who both remain unsigned.

Once Morris’ signing becomes official, Brooklyn will have 13 players with fully guaranteed contracts. Edmond Sumner‘s deal is partially guaranteed and Yuta Watanabe‘s is non-guaranteed.

Heat Notes: Morris, PF Options, Herro, Haslem

The departure of Markieff Morris, who agreed to a deal with the Nets on Tuesday, means the Heat‘s revolving door at power forward will continue, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Morris and P.J. Tucker, who were free agent additions last summer, both signed elsewhere during the offseason. Winderman notes that Miami has been through eight power forwards since Bam Adebayo became the starting center in 2019/20.

Morris’ departure was virtually assured when Udonis Haslem announced last week that he was returning for a 20th season, Winderman adds. Miami will keep one roster spot open due to luxury tax concerns, so there was no room for Morris once fellow free agents Caleb Martin, Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon all reached new deals.

Martin, who is expected to replace Tucker as the starting power forward, re-signed with Miami for its full taxpayer mid-level exception and will receive $20.4MM over the next three years. He was reportedly about to get a better offer from a rival team, but he preferred to remain with the Heat. Winderman points out that if Tucker had taken the MLE, Miami’s starting point on a new deal with Martin would have been limited to the $4.1MM bi-annual exception.

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic and Atlanta’s John Collins are players to watch if the Heat decide to trade for a power forward, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Jazz haven’t expressed a desire to part with Bogdanovic, but he has a $19.5MM expiring contract and could become expendable if Utah commits to rebuilding. The Hawks have explored the trade market for Collins, but he has an expensive contract that pays him more than $75MM over the next three seasons, along with a $26.6MM player option for 2025/26. Jackson doesn’t believe Miami should give up a first-round pick for either player.
  • The Knicks’ extension agreement with RJ Barrett is likely to be similar to what the Heat offer Tyler Herro if he’s not traded, Winderman adds in a separate piece. Herro is eligible for a five-year max extension worth up to $188MM, but Winderman expects his final deal to be more in line with Barrett, whose four-year deal can be worth up to $120MM if he earns several bonuses.
  • Suns star Chris Paul supports Haslem’s decision to play another season, per Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report. “You all saw that stuff with Udonis Haslem? Y’all heard everyone talking crazy about him like, ‘Why he on the team? Why he on the team?’ Man, I’m probably his biggest fan,” Paul said to a group of high school players in Los Angeles (video link). “You want to know why? Because young guys need vets. They need somebody like UD showing up every day, if practice at 11:00, he’s probably at the gym at 8:30 every day. To motivate guys. To push guys.”

Atlantic Notes: Trent, Achiuwa, Morris, Barrett

While Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes look like safe bets to be part of the Raptors‘ starting lineup this fall, the fifth spot may come down to Gary Trent Jr. vs. Precious Achiuwa. And, as Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, both players will be motivated to have big years — Trent can become an unrestricted free agent next offseason if he declines his 2023/24 player option, while Achiuwa will become eligible for a rookie scale extension in 2023.

If the Raptors decide Achiuwa’s size makes him a better fit for that starting role, Trent is still capable of maintaining or improving his value while coming off the bench, Koreen argues. As a sixth man, Trent’s usage rate would likely be higher than it would be as a starter. Throw in the fact that he’ll only be 24 years old next summer and projects to be part of a playoff team, and Trent should be in line for a nice payday whether he’s a starter or a reserve in 2022/23.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Nets‘ one-year deal with Markieff Morris won’t be guaranteed, according to reports from ESPN and Brian Lewis of The New York Post. We’ll have to wait until after the signing is official to confirm whether Morris’ salary will be fully non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed — either way, he seems like a good bet to earn a regular season roster spot if he looks healthy in training camp.
  • There aren’t many NBA executives who have a “down-the-middle” take on Knicks forward RJ Barrett, according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, who says some talent evaluators view him as a future All-Star while others question his shooting ability, his decision making, and/or his touch around the basket. Vecenie explains within his article why he’s a believer in Barrett’s long-term potential.
  • For more on Barrett’s extension and how it affects Donovan Mitchell trade talks, be sure to check out our Knicks page, which has been busy so far this week.

Markieff Morris, Nets In Advanced Discussions

The Nets are engaged in “advanced” discussions with free agent forward Markieff Morris, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Morris, who will turn 33 this Friday, was limited to just 17 appearances last season in Miami due to a neck injury that sidelined him for much of the year, but he has a strong overall NBA résumé, having appeared in over 700 regular season games for six teams since entering the league in 2011.

In his last full season, Morris averaged 6.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 61 games (19.7 MPG) for the Lakers in 2020/21. He’s known for his toughness and defensive versatility, and can also stretch the floor a little on offense — he has posted a .341 career 3PT%.

Brooklyn’s interest in Morris was reported last week, with a subsequent report from Stein indicating that the division rival Sixers also had an eye on the veteran forward.

Morris’ last couple contracts have been minimum-salary deals and he seems unlikely to earn a raise after losing most of the 2021/22 season to an injury. As such, he and the Nets could be discussing whether the team’s offer would be fully guaranteed and/or what sort of role he might play in Brooklyn.

The Nets currently have 12 players on fully guaranteed standard contracts, with Edmond Sumner on a partially guaranteed deal and Yuta Watanabe on a non-guaranteed pact.

Stein’s Latest: Morris, Hornets, Mitchell, Lakers

Veteran free agent power forward Markieff Morris is under consideration as a reserve acquisition for the Sixers in addition to the Nets, writes Marc Stein in a new article for Substack.

Stein notes that the 32-year-old was known to be a vocal locker room presence while on a star-studded 2019/20 championship-winning Lakers club, and could be a good fit for a Brooklyn team fielding several at-times angsty superstars.

Morris missed most of his 2021/22 season with the Heat due to a major neck injury after entering the season as a key reserve. In his 17 available regular season games with Miami, Morris averaged 7.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 1.4 APG. The 6’9″ big man out of Kansas posted a shooting line of .474/.333/.889.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • As the Hornets consider reserve point guard options behind developing All-Star LaMelo Ball, the team has broadened its list of potential targets to include former Suns point guard Elfrid Payton, according to Stein. Isaiah Thomas, who fulfilled the role adequately last season, is still being looked at, as is Pistons point guard Kemba Walker, a three-time All-Star while with Charlotte whom Stein expects to be bought out of his current deal.
  • The Lakers‘ 2027 and 2029 first-round draft selections, along with the expiring contract of incumbent point guard Russell Westbrook, could be used to help complete a three-team Donovan Mitchell trade for the Jazz, either with the Knicks or even another suitor. Stein writes that the draft picks could hold significant appeal for Jazz team president Danny Ainge, who earlier this summer received quite a bounty in future draft equity as part of his blockbuster deal that shipped former Utah All-Star Rudy Gobert out to the Timberwolves.
  • Stein cautions that the Lakers, who leveraged a lot of future draft picks in their trade for Anthony Davis, remain fairly protective of the 2027 and 2029 picks. Given that L.A. is fielding a team with (currently) three maximum-salaried veterans all with at least 10 years of experience, one would expect the club to very much be in win-now mode, but the team only wants to make a move if it values the returning players as being worth the sacrifice. Stein defines that as players who can help the team return to its standing as a championship contender, following a disappointing 33-49 season that saw the Lakers on the outside of the play-in tournament looking in.

Nets Eyeing Markieff Morris, Tristan Thompson

With the Kevin Durant saga resolved at least for the time being, the Nets can shift their focus to filling out their projected regular season roster, which currently has a couple openings. According to reports from Chris Milholen of NetsDaily (Twitter link) and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Nets may use one of those spots to bolster their frontcourt with a free agent addition.

Milholen reports that there’s mutual interest between Markieff Morris and the Nets, with Scotto confirming that the team has expressed “exploratory” interest in the veteran forward.

Morris was limited to just 17 appearances last season in Miami due to a neck injury that sidelined him for much of the year, but he has a solid NBA résumé, having appeared in over 700 regular season games for six teams since entering the league in 2011. In his last full season, Morris averaged 6.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 61 games (19.7 MPG) for the Lakers in 2020/21. He’s known for his toughness and defensive versatility, and can also stretch the floor a little on offense (.341 career 3PT%).

Veteran center Tristan Thompson is another potential Nets target to watch, according to Scotto, who says the club would like to add a backup center after losing Andre Drummond in free agency.

Thompson, 31, played for three teams in 2021/22, starting the season with the Kings before being traded to the Pacers, who bought him out, clearing a path for him to sign with the Bulls. In total, Thompson averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 57 games (15.7 MPG).

While there are a number of other intriguing frontcourt players on the free agent market, Scotto threw cold water on the idea that Brooklyn could sign Dwight Howard or Carmelo Anthony, reporting that the club doesn’t currently have interest in either player.

The Nets are carrying 12 players on fully guaranteed standard contracts. Edmond Sumner, who has a partial guarantee of $250K on his minimum-salary deal, has the inside track to be the 13th man. Even if we assume Sumner will make the regular season roster, that still leaves one or two open slots.

Brooklyn has its full taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.48MM) available, though it’s unclear if any of the players on the team’s radar will command more than the minimum.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Martin, Hampton, Banchero

The Heat lost P.J. Tucker to the Sixers and reached agreements with Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon but they still have some unfinished offseason business, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

Restricted free agent Caleb Martin remains unsigned but since the Heat do not have his Bird Rights, they are unable to match offers above the $10.49MM mid-level exception. They are not likely to go above the $6.5MM taxpayer mid-level exception, since that would trigger a hard salary cap. They also have to decide whether to bring back Markieff Morris.

They have both the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions at their disposal to pursue other free agents, but using the bi-annual would also result in a hard cap.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Martin’s restricted free agency buys the Heat a little more time to wait out the Kevin Durant saga while keeping Martin as an option, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes. Even if Martin receives an offer sheet in the first day of free agency on Wednesday, the Heat have two days to decide whether to match it.
  • R.J. Hampton has impressed the Magic brass by his willingness to play in the Summer League, according to Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel. Hampton wanted to play despite appearing in 64 games during his second NBA season. “I only got to play one summer league,” Hampton said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get run and get extra reps.”
  • Top pick Paolo Banchero has been displaying his strength in summer league practices, Price tweets. “He’s a very strong individual. I don’t think he even understands how strong he really is,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said of the former Duke forward. “That’s the great part of his willingness to learn and ask questions, that he’s going to find out how he can use his body in different ways to obviously punish defenses but then defensively, how to guard multiple positions.”

Heat Notes: Lowry, Yurtseven, Collins, Morris

The Heat made a massive gamble in signing-and-trading for 36-year-old former All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry during the 2021 offseason. Lowry’s leadership, passing ability and defensive moxie helped Miami knock on the door of its second NBA Finals appearance in three seasons this year, but the team’s 2022 draft will be negatively impacted by the signing, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The league penalized Miami for apparently reaching a deal with Lowry before free agency opened, taking away the Heat’s 2022 second-round draft pick. Miami will not have a second-round draft pick until the 2028 season, though the team has had plenty of recent success in signing undrafted free agent rookies.

“Of course it’s disappointing to lose an asset,” said Heat vice president of basketball operations Adam Simon. “You can acquire a player on the night of the draft, and then have him under contact, versus waiting on players that don’t get drafted and then hoping that you can talk the agent into delivering them to you. So certainly having a pick, a late pick, it helps.”

Winderman notes that Miami also has not had the benefit of a second-round selection in five of the last six drafts.

Across 63 contests with Miami during the regular season, Lowry averaged 13.4 PPG, 7.5 APG and 4.5 RPG. He posted shooting splits of .440/.377/.851. Injuries limited Lowry to appearing in just 10 of 18 playoff contests.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Due to obligations with the Turkish national basketball team, Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven will most likely not play in Summer League games for Miami, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald“I have to go to the national team. So if that takes me away from summer league, I might not be able to,” Yurtseven said. In 10 consecutive starts in December and January prior to Bam Adebayo‘s return from a thumb injury, Yurtseven averaged 13.6 PPG, 13.9 RPG and 2.9 APG. By the playoffs, however, he was out of the rotation. Yurtseven, 24, is optimistic about what he was able to show with the club when he did play. “I was given an opportunity and took full advantage of it for that six-week stretch,” he said. “Then afterwards, just stayed the course, stayed professional and did my job and stayed ready.”
  • Though the Heat enjoyed a relatively successful 2021/22 NBA season, they fell short of their ultimate goal: their first championship since 2013. Miami fell in seven games to the Celtics in a hotly-contested Eastern Conference Finals series. The club may look to make some significant personnel tweaks during the 2022 offseason. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald wonders if athletic Hawks power forward John Collins could be a solid fit in the Miami frontcourt alongside Adebayo.
  • Heat reserve big man Markieff Morris lost his place in the team’s rotation following a major neck injury that kept him out for most of the 2021/22 season, his first with Miami. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates on whether or not Morris may ultimately decide to return to the Heat as an unrestricted free agent this summer.