Markieff Morris

Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. 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:

Kelly Oubre, Warriors, 25, SF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $30MM deal in 2019

The Warriors were willing to explode their luxury tax bill by using a $17.2MM trade exception to acquire Oubre. Initially, it looked like a colossal waste of money. He got off to a woeful start, missing 28 of his first 30 3-point attempts. Oubre has settled in this month, doing what he does best – providing offensive punch while helping out around the boards. He’s averaging 20.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG and shooting 44% from long range in February. Productive wings are always in demand and Oubre – though his perimeter shot is still inconsistent — should be able to attract offers similar to the one he signed two years ago with the Suns.

Markieff Morris, Lakers, 31, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.33MM deal in 2020

Morris had his contract bought out by the Pistons last season in order to join a contender. He made a good choice, giving the Lakers some rotation minutes during their championship run. He re-upped with the Lakers this offseason and has retained his rotation role. Morris’ playing time has recently increased in Anthony Davis’ absence, but he hasn’t moved the needle. He’s shooting 38.9% from the field and 30.4% from deep after making 39.7% of his 3s for Detroit last season. It’s quite possible that Morris will see his playing time evaporate when Davis returns and/or the Lakers add a frontcourt piece.

Langston Galloway, Suns, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2020

When Galloway signed with Phoenix for the veteran’s minimum, it initially appeared like one of the better under-the-radar moves of the offseason. It hasn’t worked out that way. At the moment, Galloway is under wraps. He was coming off a strong season for the Pistons, averaging 10.3 PPG off the bench while shooting 39.9% from the field and playing solid defense as well. With the Suns, Galloway finds himself out of the rotation with E’Twaun Moore absorbing most of the backup guard minutes. Galloway could still make his mark on a playoff team at some point.

Jabari Parker, Kings, 25, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $13MM deal in 2019

Imagine if the Bucks had selected Joel Embiid in 2014 and waited out his foot injuries. Alas, Milwaukee chose Parker and missed out on a potential superstar pairing with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Parker is on his fifth NBA team, though if you weren’t aware that he’s on Sacramento’s roster, it’s perfectly understandable. Due to a back injury, personal reasons, and now COVID-19 protocols, Parker has appeared in just two games this season. He’s still young enough to reestablish himself as an instant-offense reserve but he’ll probably be looking at veteran’s minimum deals in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

L.A. Notes: Davis, Vogel, Zubac, Ballmer

Anthony Davis missed two games this week because of Achilles tendinosis, but the Lakers star doesn’t expect it to be a long-term concern, writes Jovah Buha of The Athletic. After returning to the lineup with a 35-point performance Friday, Davis explained to reporters how the injury is affecting him.

“It felt great going into the game,” he said. “But as you play, I’m always using that Achilles tendon. It got sore towards the end from just constantly moving on it. But it felt great coming into the game, felt great throughout the game, but late game it was kind of bothering me a little bit. I felt like we had the game in hand when I was able to — and Coach felt that way — when I was able to sit down the last two and a half (minutes).”

Davis added that doctors told him the pain isn’t coming directly from the Achilles tendon, but from an adjacent body part in the same area of the leg. He said the quickest way to recover is through rest, but he doesn’t want to sit out a lot of games in a row.

“The doctors and training staff feel comfortable enough for me to go out there and perform as well,” Davis said. “So it’s something that’s gonna continue to get better. (I’m) constantly doing treatment on it throughout the day, throughout the night, and wearing stuff in my shoes to help out the pain level and wearing tape and all these things to make it feel better throughout the course of time, and basically, I’m very — I’m able to just go out there and play and not worry about it.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • After trimming his rotation during the week, Lakers coach Frank Vogel expanded it to 10 players Friday with the return of Davis and Alex Caruso, Buha adds in the same story. Vogel called it “impossible decisions” to determine what to do with Wesley Matthews and Markieff Morris when the full team is healthy, noting that both of them “deserve to be in the rotation.”
  • The Clippers lost Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, but their bench remains among the most productive in the league, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. One of the new components is center Ivica Zubac, who was a starter last season. “I am just in a space where I want Zu to be great,” said reserve guard Lou Williams. “I want to push him, I want to challenge him to be the best player that he can be and at the same time, we can feed off each other’s success and continue to build.”
  • Seattle will be at the top of the list whenever the NBA decides to expand, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said on a Clubhouse podcast.

Markieff Morris, DeMarcus Cousins Fined For On-Court Altercation

Lakers forward Markieff Morris and Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins have been fined by the NBA for their roles in an on-court altercation in Sunday’s game, the league announced today in a press release. Morris will lose $35K, while Cousins was penalized $10K.

Morris committed a flagrant foul on Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate during the first quarter of Sunday’s Lakers win, with Cousins responding by pushing Morris to the floor.

The league said that Morris “further escalated the situation” by going after Cousins, shoving him and “continuing to aggressively pursue him,” which presumably explains why his fine is more substantial. Both players received technical fouls and Morris was ejected. Cousins was ejected later in the game after committing a flagrant foul.

Rockets coach Stephen Silas praised Cousins after the game for sticking up for Tate, who is in his first year in the NBA.

“He wasn’t going to allow anything to happen to his rookie, and I think that’s admirable,” Silas said. “Him sticking up for his teammate shows a lot of who DeMarcus Cousins is.”

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.

Lakers Trade McGee, Future Second-Rounder To Cavs

NOVEMBER 23: The deal is official, according to a press release from the Cavs. Cleveland acquires McGee and the Lakers’ second-round pick in exchange for McKinnie and Bell, as expected.


NOVEMBER 22: The Lakers are set to send center JaVale McGee and a future second-round draft pick to the Cavaliers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter). This will create flexibility below the hard cap to allow the Lakers to sign veteran center Marc Gasol.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that the second-round pick will be from the 2026 NBA draft. Fedor reports in a separate tweet that small forward Alfonzo McKinnie and big man Jordan Bell will be headed to Los Angeles in the deal.

McGee has a $4.2MM cap charge for 2020/21, which the Cavaliers have no way to absorb without sending out some salary themselves. McKinnie ($1.76MM) and Bell ($1.76MM) are currently on non-guaranteed deals, but their salaries will have to be at least partially guaranteed to make the deal work. The Cavs have to send out about $2.34MM and non-guaranteed money doesn’t count for salary-matching purposes.

Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that the likely outcome will see McKinnie being fully guaranteed, while Bell gets about a $600K guarantee. The Lakers could then waive and stretch Bell to create a little extra flexibility.

McGee started at center for most of the Lakers’ 2019/20 championship season, but was supplanted in the starting lineup during the last two rounds of the playoffs by the more mobile Markieff Morris or Dwight Howard most of the time, with Anthony Davis shifting from power forward to center to close out the Heat in Game 6 of the Finals. McGee is a three-time champion thanks to tenures with the Warriors and Lakers.

It doesn’t sound as if the Cavaliers view McGee as a mere salary dump. The team wanted a veteran big man with experience coming off the bench behind Andre Drummond, according to Fedor, so McGee will replace Tristan Thompson on the roster. Cleveland continues to explore possible free agent deals involving the mid-level, with a focus on backup point guard, per Fedor.

Luke Adams contributed to this story. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Re-Sign Markieff Morris

2:37pm: The Lakers have officially re-signed Morris, the team confirmed (Twitter link via Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group).


11:29am: Free agent forward Markieff Morris is sticking with the Lakers, announcing (via Twitter) his intentions to “run it back” with the defending champions. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links), Morris is signing a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the club.

Morris was said to be receiving interest from both Los Angeles teams and was reportedly considering reuniting with his twin brother Marcus Morris on the Clippers. The Raptors were also said to have interest before they agreed to a deal with Aron Baynes.

Although the Clippers had the financial flexibility to make Markieff a slightly more lucrative offer, it’s not clear if he took less to remain with the Lakers, or if the Clips were also offering the minimum.

After starting last season in Detroit, Morris was bought out and joined the Lakers for the stretch run. He played a limited role (14.2 minutes per game) in 14 regular season contests for the club, but actually saw his playing time increase to 18.3 MPG in the postseason.

He appeared in all 21 of the Lakers’ playoff games en route to their championship, averaging 5.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG with a .449/.420/.778 shooting line.

With a commitment from Morris in place, the Lakers now project to be about $4.5MM below their hard cap with 12 players on the roster, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who tweets that the team should be on track to add two more minimum-salary players to the mix. Marks’ projection assumes the team keeps Alfonzo McKinnie after acquiring him from Cleveland and waives Jordan Bell.

By virtue of re-signing with the Lakers on a one-year deal, Morris will have the ability to veto any trade that involves him in 2020/21, as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report observes (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers, Clippers Remain In Mix For Markieff Morris

Free agent forward Markieff Morris, one of the few players on our top-50 list who has yet to agree to a new deal, continues to draw interest from both Los Angeles teams, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, who tweets that both the Lakers and Clippers are trying to sign Morris.

The Lakers have had interest in re-signing Morris throughout free agency, and the Clippers’ interest in reuniting Markieff with his brother Marcus Morris was reported on Sunday. Stein also reported on Sunday that the Raptors also had interest in Markieff, but says that Toronto is likely out of the running as a viable option after agreeing to sign Aron Baynes.

The Clippers have a little more cap flexibility to make a stronger offer to Morris, as they still have their $3.62MM bi-annual exception available. The Lakers could offer up to about $2.8MM using Morris’ Non-Bird rights, assuming they’re comfortable squeezing that deal below their hard cap. A minimum-salary offer from either team would pay Morris about $2.33MM.

After starting last season in Detroit, Morris was bought out and joined the Lakers for the stretch run. He played a limited role (14.2 minutes per game) in 14 regular season contests for the club, but actually saw his playing time increase to 18.3 MPG in the postseason. He appeared in all 21 of the Lakers’ playoff games en route to their championship, averaging 5.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG with a .449/.420/.778 shooting line

Free Agency Rumors: Markieff Morris, Craig, Bazemore, Sixers

A Morris brothers reunion might be in play for the Clippers, Jason Dumas of KRON4 News tweets. Dumas notes that there may be mutual interest in adding free agent forward Markieff Morris – most recently of the Lakers – to a Clippers frontcourt that includes newly re-signed forward Marcus Morris, Markieff’s twin brother. Marcus has agreed to a four-year, $64MM deal to remain with the Clippers.

Markieff’s minutes may be relatively minimal, as he would presumably be the fourth big man in the Clippers’ frontcourt rotation, behind starting power forward Marcus, starting center Ivica Zubac, and just-added veteran power forward/center Serge Ibaka, who will be signed using the club’s full MLE after the departure of Montrezl Harrell to the Lakers. Big man Patrick Patterson was also retained by the Clippers this offseason.

Marcus was a key role-playing piece in the Lakers’ championship run after joining the team off waivers this spring. In 18.4 MPG, Markieff averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG, while shooting a stellar 42% on 3.3 three-point attempts per game and 77.8% from the charity stripe across 21 games en route to the Lakers’ 17th NBA title.

Meanwhile, if Marc Gasol ultimately leaves the Raptors for the Lakers, Toronto has strong interest in replacing him with Markieff Morris, and may be able to offer him more than the Clippers can afford.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Darren Wolfson of KSTP 5 Eyewitness News tweets that the Timberwolves also considered adding free agent guard Torrey Craig to their offseason roster. Craig ultimately agreed to a contract with the Bucks this offseason, the terms of which have yet to be released.
  • Though Kent Bazemore wound up returning to the Warriors and his close friend Stephen Curry on a veteran’s minimum contract, the Clippers apparently considered using their $3.6MM bi-annual exception to sign the veteran swingman, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • Though Sixers GM Daryl Morey has already made significant changes to Philadelphia, the club still needs a great perimeter scorer, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes. “Obviously, our job is to always look for opportunities,” Morey commented this weekend. “But we feel very good about where we are right now.” Pompey notes that in Ben Simmons, the Sixers have the kind of All-Star blue chip piece that could fit well into a deal for Rockets superstar perimeter scorer James Harden.

Marc Gasol Narrowing Focus To Lakers, Raptors

Free agent center Marc Gasol is narrowing his focus to the Lakers and Raptors, according to Shams Charnia of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Warriors were among the teams also expressing interest in Gasol, but it sounds as if they’re no longer in the mix. The Mavericks also aren’t considered a probable destination anymore, Charania adds, noting that Dallas had been in the running up until now (Twitter link).

The Raptors hold Gasol’s Bird rights and are well positioned to offer him a lucrative one-year deal for 2020/21. Toronto should be especially motivated to bring back its starting center, having lost Serge Ibaka to the Clippers. If both Gasol and Ibaka depart, 2019 second-rounder Dewan Hernandez would be the only center under contract for the Raptors, since their other big man – Chris Boucher – is a restricted free agent.

While the Raptors can offer Gasol more money for next season, the Lakers are working the marketplace to try to find a way to improve their offer, per Charania. For the time being, they’d be limited to the veteran’s minimum, since they’ve already signed Wesley Matthews using the bi-annual exception and intend to use the full mid-level exception to Montrezl Harrell.

If the Lakers can shed some salary – and if the Raptors or Clippers are willing to cooperate – a sign-and-trade deal for either Gasol or Harrell could help keep the MLE open for the other. Los Angeles is exploring trading away JaVale McGee and his $4.2MM cap hit, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Should the Lakers snatch Gasol away from Toronto, the Raptors may shift their attention to a Lakers free agent, according to Stein, who reports (via Twitter) that Toronto has “strong interest” in forward Markieff Morris.

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.