Markieff Morris

And-Ones: Morris Trial, Kyrie, Pelicans, NCAA

The trial for Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, who are accused of aggravated assault, got underway today in Phoenix, writes Terell Wilkins of The Arizona Republic. Jury selection for the trial, which will take place in Maricopa County Superior Court, concluded on Wednesday, and opening statements will be delivered on Monday, per an Associated Press report (link via ESPN.com).

The trial will be worth watching for fans of the Celtics and Wizards, since the Morris brothers would face suspensions from the NBA if they’re convicted — a violent felony results in at least a 10-game ban. Even if the Morris brothers reach plea deals, they could be subject to discipline from the league, with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement empowering commissioner Adam Silver to decide on an appropriate suspension in that scenario.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • While many NBA observers were dumbfounded by Kyrie Irving‘s trade request, Warriors forward Draymond Green suggests he gained a newfound respect for Irving, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post details. “I don’t think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that,” Green said. “He’s basically saying, ‘I’m ready to deliver.’ That’s big. That says a lot.”
  • The Pelicans have renounced their draft rights to 2011 second-rounder Ater Majok, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions. New Orleans now holds the draft rights to just one non-NBA player — big man Latavious Williams.
  • The relationship between the NCAA and the NBA wasn’t always strong during David Stern‘s days as commissioner, but Adam Silver has struck a more conciliatory tone, and that’s beginning to show, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN. As Givony explains, the invite list for a recent student-athlete symposium suggests the NCAA’s philosophy on preparing underclassmen for the NBA is evolving.
  • Using the NBA’s response to its DNP-Rest issue as a jumping-off point, Tom Ziller of SBNation.com makes the case that the league is too focused on marketing a small handful of star players, and ought to make an effort to showcase more stars in nationally televised games.

Celtics Notes: Irving, Horford, Morris, Smart

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers left the Celtics several years ago as Boston entered a rebuilding period, so he’s as impressed as anyone with how quickly the C’s have managed to retool their roster and become a legit contender. As Stephen Hewitt of The Boston Herald details, Rivers still has a fondness for Boston, along with many members of the organization, and admires the work the front office has done in recent years.

“[I] love Danny (Ainge), love (owner Steve Pagliuca), that whole group, and I just want them to do well. I really do,” Rivers said. “I love what they’ve done. I think the turnaround in four years starting with hiring Brad (Stevens). … (Ainge) and (assistant general manager) Mike Zarren have done the best job I’ve seen in sports in a long, long time of rebuilding. Maybe ever.”

Rivers also had praise this week specifically for the acquisition of Kyrie Irving. Attending a fundraising event in Boston, Rivers joked that he’d rather have seen Irving land in Los Angeles, but expects the young point guard to thrive with the Celtics.

“This is a perfect situation for him,” Rivers said. “The Celtics gave up a lot to get him, but he’s 25 years old and that’s the other thing people forget about: He’s so young. He’s going to be a star here for a long time.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge answered questions this week about completing the Irving trade, why Boston was willing to give up so much to get him, and how Irving and Gordon Hayward will mesh on the court (video link).
  • Although Al Horford spent a good chunk of last season playing power forward, the Celtics sound as if they’re leaning toward having him start the 2017/18 campaign at center, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe (link via Jay King of MassLive.com). That would allow Boston to start Horford alongside a power forward like Marcus Morris rather than a center like Aron Baynes.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com provides an update on the upcoming trial for Morris and his brother Markieff Morris, who face aggravated assault charges.
  • Marcus Smart, who is eligible for a contract extension this offseason, said this week that he’s lost 20 pounds since the end of last season and feels more “explosive” than he used to (Twitter link via Taylor C. Snow of Celtics.com). Smart also spoke about the trade that sent Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland, suggesting that losing Thomas “still feels unreal” (video link via CSNNE.com).
  • Michael Lee of The Vertical spoke to some of Irving’s old coaches, who believe the star point guard is ready to show that he can be a franchise player.

East Notes: Knicks, The Morrii, Wall

For the first time in over a decade the Knicks appear to be embarking on a genuine rebuild. It’s a changing of the guard, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes, that extends beyond the literal fact that Derrick Rose is out and Frank Ntilikina is in.

After years of seeming to prioritize headlines over wins, the Knicks have a young core in place and a respected general manager that may just be up to the task of gradually building a winner.

While the Knicks’ decision to take Ntilikina eighth overall in the June NBA Draft will forever be tied to how well Dennis Smith Jr. (ninth overall) and Malik Monk (12th) fare throughout their careers, the 19-year-old represents the long developmental process inherent with a genuine rebuild.

Joining Ntilikina as anchors of the Knicks’ decent young core are Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez and even 2017 free agent acquisition Tim Hardaway Jr., Hamilton writes.

It may be some time before the Knicks end up back in the postseason but the fact that the franchise may, for now at least, be committed to rebuilding authentically as opposed to chasing shortcut solutions is a step in the right direction.

There’s more from the East:

  • Figuring to make the CelticsWizards rivalry slightly more interesting in 2017/18 is the fact that Marcus Morris, brother of Wiz forward Markieff Morris, will suit up for Boston. “I think we’ll still have that rivalry because we don’t like those guys and they don’t like us,” Markieff told Ben Standig of FanRag Sports. “I don’t think that should change with my brother on the team.
  • The Wizards came up short against the Celtics in their second-round playoff series but John Wall isn’t letting the fact that he went cold down the stretch. “Game 7 was not the way we wanted it to end, but I definitely went out swinging,” the guard told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I didn’t go 0-for-0. I went 0-for-11. I shot the ball and played the game I wanted to play. At least I wasn’t being passive. I was aggressive like I was the whole playoffs. I can deal with losing that way and use that as motivation for this season coming up.
  • Despite going third overall versus Josh Jackson‘s fourth, Jayson Tatum‘s NBA 2K18 rating is one point lower, D.J. Bean of CSN New England writes. Bean reminds readers that the Celtics were unable to secure a pre-draft workout with Jackson, who ultimately ended up with the Suns.

 

Southeast Notes: Wall, Porter, Gortat, Waiters, Ball

During the Wizards‘ Game 7 loss to the Celtics, Washington’s bench was outscored 48 to 5. That glaring disparity was certainly not lost on John Wall, writes Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. In fact, Wall’s last words before leaving the court Monday night were, “Forty-eight to five,” which he then repeated before departing with, “Our bench had five points.”

Here’s more out of the Southeast:

  • Despite the immense disappointment Wizards players are feeling after their Game 7 defeat, players expressed confidence that the team can continue to compete at a high level if it can keep its best players together. Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this offseason, is considered by teammates Wall, Bradley Beal, and Markieff Morris to be a vital part of the team’s core, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Morris tells Buckner that Porter is worth a max contract and he hopes that he gets it.
  • As reported earlier today, Marcin Gortat feels underappreciated by the Wizards and may request a trade.  More details and quotes on Gortat’s feelings can be found via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • Impeding Heat free agent Dion Waiters said that the Heat do not need Lonzo Ball because they are covered at the point guard position with Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, and “other [players],”  reports Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Waiters also offered advice for Ball: “He’s got to go somewhere where he’s able to play his game. He’s got to go somewhere where he’s able to make mistakes. Because I think in this game today, he’s got to be able to make mistakes and have a coach who allows you to make mistakes, and you can learn from it.”
  • Luke Babbitt‘s future with the Heat is written about by Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman concludes that, while Babbitt likely will not be an offseason priority for the Heat, the team will consider him because of his Bird Rights and skill set.

Southeast Notes: Morris, Heat, Draft, Batiste

Wizards forward Markieff Morris is suffering through a severe left ankle injury, but says there’s no chance it will prevent him from playing in Monday’s Game 7 against the Celtics, relays J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Morris was able to play 39 minutes in Game 6, putting up 16 points and 11 rebounds in a thrilling 92-91 victory. He has been fighting through the pain ever since landing on Al Horford‘s foot on a jump shot in Game 1 and hasn’t practiced since the injury. “I don’t shoot at all. I just go back to treatment every day,” Morris said. “It’s not swollen as much, but the pain is still there. It’s the worst injury I’ve ever had.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat should consider trading down in the draft if they don’t get lucky in Tuesday’s lottery, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After barely missing the playoffs on a tie-breaker, Miami has the worst odds of any lottery team. The Heat have just a 0.5% chance to land the No. 1 pick and only a slightly better shot at slots two and three. While options such as Justin Jackson, Ivan Rabb, John Collins or T.J. Leaf might be tempting at No. 14, Winderman believes Miami would be better off trying to rebuild its draft future. The Heat owe their first-round picks in 2018 and 2021 to Phoenix and don’t have a second-round pick until 2022.
  • The Heat have some important contract dates in the next few weeks, Winderman notes in the same piece. Josh McRoberts, Dion Waiters and Willie Reed all have a June 29th deadline to decide whether to opt out for next season. Josh Richardson‘s $1,471,382 salary for 2017/18 becomes fully guaranteed a day later, as does Okaro White‘s $1,312,611 figure on July 1st. Winderman expects McRoberts to opt in for $6MM, Waiters and Reed to both opt out and the team to guarantee Richardson’s salary while getting White to defer his guarantee date.
  • The Hornets added Mike Batiste to their coaching staff this week, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. An opening was created when Patrick Ewing gave up his role as associate head coach to take over at Georgetown. Stephen Silas was promoted to lead assistant, and Batiste will become a regular assistant. Batiste played for the Grizzlies in 2002/03, but spent most of his career in Europe.

Southeast Notes: Reed, Hardaway, Muscala, Morris

Willie Reed hasn’t announced his intentions, but the Heat center sounds like he plans to opt out this summer. Reed, who is scheduled to make $1.6MM next season, is coming off a promising second NBA season in which he played 71 games and averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per night. It was his first year in Miami after starting his career in Brooklyn. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like for me, to be honest,” Reed told Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post about free agency. “Obviously I’ve never been in a position like this before. So I’m just trying to trust the process with things that I’ve done before, continue to work on my body, continue to work on my game and then deal with that when the time comes.” The Heat expect to have about $38MM to spend once Chris Bosh‘s contract is cleared from their books, but they have other priorities in free agency, such as keeping Dion Waiters and James Johnson.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Matching an offer sheet for Tim Hardaway Jr. could be the Hawks‘ toughest decision of the offseason, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Hardaway is a restricted free agent after the team elected not to give him a qualifying offer last fall. He responded with his best season as a pro, averaging 14.5 points per game and starting 30 of the 79 games that he played. “That’s why I have an agent to do all the talk with the organization here and see what best fits for me,” Hardaway said. “I love it here. Atlanta brought me here and it really felt like I was starting all over as a rookie when I got here. They made me go through some tough times. They made me mature as a person on and off the court. And made me appreciate the game a whole lot more when I first came in the league. That’s what I’m thankful for.”
  • Fourth-year big man Mike Muscala is also a first-time free agent and the Hawks haven’t indicated if they’ll try to keep him, Vivlamore writes in a separate piece. “Atlanta is a special place for me,” said Muscala, who has spent his entire career with the team. “I feel like the organization is headed in the right direction with the ownership and the coaching staff, practice facility. I’ve loved my time here.”
  • Wizards forward Markieff Morris sat out practice today with a badly sprained left ankle that he suffered in Sunday’s Game 1 against the Celtics, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The team hasn’t commented on his availability for Tuesday’s Game 2, but Morris has already made up his mind. “I’m playing tomorrow. It’s final,” he said. “There’s nothing the doctors can say to me for me not to be able to play.” Injured center Ian Mahinmi also was held out of practice today, tweets J. Michael of CSNWashington.

Wizards Notes: House, Jennings, Morris, Porter

When Wednesday reports suggested that Trey Burke hadn’t traveled with the Wizards to Toronto due to a personal matter, it looked to some as a signal that Burke would be the player waived to make room on the roster for Brandon Jennings. However, the club ultimately cut Danuel House instead, and J. Michael explains why in a piece for CSNMidAtlantic.

As Michael outlines, the Wizards are looking for pieces that will help them win now, which is why it makes sense to part with an unproven rookie in favor of a veteran contributor. Washington only has so much room on its roster for developmental projects, and Daniel Ochefu, Chris McCullough, and Sheldon Mac also fit that bill. Plus, as Michael observes, the Wizards should have a shot to re-sign House in the summer when they have roster spots open if they want to give him another shot.

Here’s more on the Wizards, who are coming off an impressive road win in Toronto:

  • Having added Bojan Bogdanovic last week, head coach Scott Brooks and the Wizards will have to incorporate another new player into their lineup in Jennings, writes Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com. “There is definitely going to be an adjustment,” Brooks said. “Everybody is going to have to stay ready and everybody is going to have to just focus on playing their minutes hard and for the team.” Brooks also weighed in on the release of House, suggesting that the young guard “has a bright future” and that it was “tough to see him go.”
  • Markieff Morris was fined $25K earlier this week for throwing the ball at a game official and into the stands, the league announced in a press release (Twitter link via J. Michael).
  • Is Otto Porter a leading candidate to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this spring? Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today examines.
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter links) takes a closer look at the particulars of Jennings’ new $1.2MM deal with the Wizards, including how it will affect the Knicks.

Wizards Notes: Mahinmi, Beal, Morris, Oubre

Wizards center Ian Mahinmi didn’t accompany the team on its current three-game road trip, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Independent doctors and the team’s medical staff will evaluate his condition, possibly on both knees. Mahinmi has only been able to play in one game after coming to Washington over the summer on a four-year, $64MM deal. He had surgery during the offseason to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, then developed soreness in the right knee that is believed to be tendinitis.

There’s more news out of Washington:

  • Even opponents are noticing the improvement in Bradley Beal this season, writes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Returning from a three-game absence caused by a right hamstring strain, Beal fell one point short of a career high with his 41-point effort in Sunday’s win over the Clippers. “Brad looked like a totally different person,” said L.A. point guard Chris Paul. “A lot more aggressive. This is the Bradley Beal he should be all the time. … For this team to be as good as they want to be, he has to be like that.” It was Beal’s fifth game this season with 30 or more points, as he is validating the Wizards’ decision to give him a five-year max deal worth about $128MM.
  • Markieff Morris is starting to look like he can handle the role of third scorer behind Beal and John Wall, Michael writes in a separate story. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter Sunday to help close out the victory. It’s a role the Wizards have been hoping Morris could fill since they acquired him from the Suns at last season’s trade deadline.
  • Kelly Oubre is listed as active for tonight’s game after going through concussion protocol, Buckner tweets. Oubre was tested today in Indiana after clearing the 48-hour window.

Wizards Notes: Morris, Brooks, House, Dudley

Markieff Morris, who complained frequently during his final season in Phoenix, now says he misses the city, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Before being traded to the Wizards at last season’s deadline, Morris publicly criticized the Suns on several occasions after his twin brother Marcus was dealt to the Pistons. But some time away has affected Markieff’s memories of Phoenix. “I had a wonderful time there,” Morris said. “It was a great experience. That’s a place that I might go back and live. It’s a great city. You have your ups and downs anywhere, but my five years there were some of the best times in my life.”

There’s more tonight out of the nation’s capital:

  • Suns coach Earl Watson says it’s too early to judge the job that new coach Scott Brooks is doing in Washington, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. Brooks has come under fire after a 3-9 start, but Watson, who played for Brooks in Seattle and Oklahoma City, believes his former coach will turn things around. “You can’t really judge him on this situation,” Watson said. “He inherited his entire roster. He had no imprint on this entire roster. So, moving forward, you will see the Scott Brooks effect take place. He understands what it’s like to have younger talent and build them to a winning mindset.”
  • Rookie shooting guard Danuel House was happy to get some playing time in two recent D-League games, writes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. House, who was recalled for tonight’s game with Phoenix, is encouraged by the opportunity to get on the court. “I took it as a positive [the Wizards] actually thought about me,” House said, “because they could’ve just sat me here and put me in a coat but they decided to take time to keep me in mind, to send me down so I can get some reps so they can watch a little bit more game film and tell me what I need to work on in order to help this team.”
  • Former Wizard Jared Dudley said he wasn’t Plan A, B or C for Washington this summer, tweets Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The 31-year-old swingman signed with the Suns and is averaging 9.0 points per night with seven starts in 14 games.

Southeast Notes: Ibaka, Hawks, Wall, Wizards

Serge Ibaka is asking Magic fans to be patient with his slow start in Orlando, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Ibaka came to the team in a June trade with the expectation that he would become the rim protector the Magic needed while providing offense like he did with the Thunder. He has shot 43% from 3-point range in his first nine games in Orlando, but has been a disappointment defensively. “There’s new teammates, there’s new coverages,” coach Frank Vogel said. “The whole system is new. That’s just a part of all of our newness. I think we’re all trying to grow and figure each other out on the defensive end. But he’s certainly given us a presence. When we’re playing against big teams, he can match up with those guys and hold his own one-on-one and be a shot-blocking presence at the rim.” Ibaka will return to Oklahoma City on Sunday for the first time since the trade.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The offseason addition of Dwight Howard has helped the Hawks become of the NBA’s best shooting teams, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Journal Constitution. Howard is third in the league at .622, joining teammates Mike Muscala and Thabo Sefolosha in the top five. Overall, Atlanta is second in shooting at .478. “I think it’s just sharing the ball,” Muscala said. “A lot of it’s getting more offensive rebounds, getting some steals, pushing it in transition, getting those easy buckets. It all helps in getting in a good rhythm. It’s about not overthinking it. It’s about finding the open guy because we do have good shooters, we have good finishers.”
  • Wizards point guard John Wall will be held out of back-to-back games for at least another week, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards are bringing Wall along slowly after he had operations on both knees during the offseason. Coach Scott Brooks said he will consider changing the plan next week.
  • Washington’s early-season struggles are a sign that the organization should start over, which may mean trading Wall, writes Sam Amico of Amicohoops.net. Amico suggests a total makeover, with the team rebuilding around Otto Porter. He adds that the coaching change from Randy Wittman to Brooks hasn’t had the desired effect. Amico also cites an anonymous GM who believes the Wizards should waive Markieff Morris.
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