Markieff Morris

Bulls Notes: Unseld, Coaching Candidates, FA Targets

Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. made a stronger case for the Bulls‘ head coaching vacancy after Denver defeated the Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski notes that Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas, who worked in Denver’s front office with Unseld, already thought highly of him. The 44-year-old assistant coach also received a ringing endorsement from Nuggets head coach Mike Malone after their victory in Game 7. “Wes Unseld should be a head coach,” Malone said.

Unseld is reportedly among 10 candidates who were a part of Karnisovas’ original list for the Bulls’ head coaching job.

Here’s more from the Windy City:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago evaluates the 10 candidates connected to the Bulls’ head coaching vacancy. Johnson notes that outside of former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and former Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, the rest of the candidates are assistant coaches. Former Bulls coach Jim Boylen was an assistant before getting promoted to head coach.
  • Bulls rookie point guard Coby White potentially divulged some inside information about the team’s head coaching search on Wednesday, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. White was asked by reporters what he wants in the next head coach and mentioned the team’s timeline for the position. “We haven’t talked about the new coach because it’s so spread out right now. They haven’t really narrowed it down to the people that — I think, don’t they narrow it down Friday or something like that?” According to Cowley, there are indications that Chicago has moved on to the second round of interviews, with the first round reportedly wrapping up last week.
  • In his latest mailbag, Sam Smith of Bulls.com takes a look at some potential free agent targets for Chicago. Smith writes that if veteran forward Otto Porter opts into his $28MM player option, the Bulls will be over the salary cap. Therefore, the team will likely be out of the running for a top-tier free agent until next offseason. That being said, Smith likes Markieff Morris or Marcus Morris, along with Davis Bertans, and possibly former first-round pick Emmanuel Mudiay.

Pacific Notes: Kings’ GM Search, Harrell, Markieff Morris, KCP

The Kings will begin a second round of interviews soon in their search for a new head of basketball operations, but sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic that executive vice president Joe Dumars won’t be involved in the interview process (Twitter link). Owner Vivek Ranadive and Mike Forde of Sportsology, an outside firm hired to conduct the search, will handle the interviews.

Dumars has been a strong voice in the front office since joining the team as a special advisor, and Ranadive envisioned a power-sharing arrangement with former GM Vlade Divac. However, Divac rejected that idea and resigned from the organization last month.

Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon (link), Heat assistant GM Adam Simon (link) and Nuggets GM Calvin Booth (link) have all reportedly pulled their names out of the search, but the remaining three candidates are set to travel to Sacramento for in-person interviews, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. They are Timberwolves executive VP Sachin Gupta, Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair and former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers need to decide whether they should continue giving regular minutes to Montrezl Harrell, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The Sixth Man of the Year had a minus-13 rating in six fourth-quarter minutes in the Game 5 loss to Denver and was minus-19 for the second half. Harrell ranks last on the team in the postseason in both plus-minus and net rating and has seen his rebound percentage fall sharply. Buha notes that Nuggets coach Michael Malone has been targeting Harrell on defense, inserting Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. whenever he enters the game.
  • Midseason addition Markieff Morris proved his worth for the Lakers in the series with Houston, observes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. After a lackluster performance against Portland in the first round, Morris was a difference maker against the Rockets. He turned around Game 2 with four 3-pointers in three minutes, earning a spot in the starting lineup and relegating Dwight Howard to the bench.
  • Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received a $50K bonus for reaching the conference finals, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN, who adds that KCP will carry an $8.54MM cap hit if he opts into his contract for next season.

Markieff Morris To Start In Place Of McGee

In tonight’s key Game 4 of the Lakers‘ second-round series against the Rockets, forward Markieff Morris will start in place of center JaVale McGee, according to Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter link).

Thus, the Lakers will continue their pivot towards a smaller, more shooting-friendly starting lineup that they began in the second half of Game 3, where Morris first got the starting nod over McGee.

Morris, a 38.6% three-point shooter on 3.9 attempts this season for the Lakers and Pistons, will help the Lakers better match up against a smaller, quicker Rockets squad that has kept the previous three games of the series highly competitive, though the Lakers currently lead 2-1.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets that Morris was barely a part of the rotation during the Lakers’ 112-97 Game 1 defeat to Houston, playing just nine minutes. He is averaging 9 points and 4.5 rebounds across the last two games, both Lakers victories. After being cleared to play with no minutes restrictions following a left ankle injury suffered in Game 2, McGee logged just six minutes during LA’s 112-102 Tuesday night Game 3 win.

Morris will start alongside a shooting-heavy lineup of guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, and All-Star forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Markieff Morris Clear Quarantine

Three more players have cleared quarantine at the NBA campus and are free to join their respective teams for practices. Heat big man Bam Adebayo, Heat guard Kendrick Nunn, and Lakers forward Markieff Morris have all returned the necessary two negative coronavirus tests after arriving at Walt Disney World on Tuesday, according to reports.

Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, who confirmed (via Twitter) that Adebayo and Nunn are out of quarantine, tweets that the plan is for the two Miami starters to conduct individual workouts today. The Heat will resume practicing on Friday before participating in their second inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday, against the Jazz.

It remains to be seen whether Adebayo and Nunn will be ready to go in time for either one of the Heat’s upcoming scrimmages, but with both players set to return to practice, they should be ready to go when the club plays the first of its eight seeding games on August 1 vs. Denver.

As for Morris, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times reported (via Twitter) that he has cleared quarantine. The veteran forward, of course, won’t be available for the Lakers during tonight’s inter-squad scrimmage against Dallas, but figures to return to L.A.’s rotation soon.

Pacific Notes: Morris Twins, Barnes, Suns, Noah, More

There are a few players who showed up on the list of official rosters released on Monday by the NBA who still haven’t reported to the Walt Disney World campus. However, more players continue to arrive by the day.

According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), Clippers forward Marcus Morris is at the team’s Tuesday morning practice today, having reported to the campus and cleared his quarantine period. His twin brother Markieff Morris will be joining the Lakers soon, Marcus tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets that Markieff is expected to arrive at the campus today and will begin his initial quarantine.

Meanwhile, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, could depart for Orlando as soon as today if he returns one more negative coronavirus test, Spears reports (via Twitter).

Finally, Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Elie Okobo, and Jalen Lecque didn’t make the initial trip to Orlando two weeks ago with the Suns and still hadn’t practiced with the club as of Sunday, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. A pair of Suns players tested positive for the coronavirus nearly a month ago, but it’s not clear if any or all of the delayed arrivals are related to COVID-19.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Kings forward Jabari Parker and center Alex Len spoke to reporters on Monday about their experiences with COVID-19, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details. Len, who said he temporarily lost his sense of smell and taste while dealing with the virus, tested positive for 24 consecutive days before eventually returning multiple negative tests and being cleared.
  • Clippers big man Joakim Noah has benefited from the NBA’s hiatus, which gave him more time to get fully healthy after suffering an Achilles injury, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Noah’s new teammates are impressed by what they’ve seen so far from the veteran center. “He’s just bringing that energy every day,” guard Rodney McGruder said. “That’s something that I’m learning from him, and it’s just the intensity and just the persistence that he plays with on the defensive end, how you always hear his voice. He’s always yelling, he’s always talking.”
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic identifies the wings in this year’s draft class that he thinks would fit best with the Warriors, including Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, and Saddiq Bey.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Clippers, Lakers, Morris

The Kings were one of 22 teams chosen to play in the NBA’s restart, which begins in a couple of weeks in Orlando, Florida. The Kings are currently 3.5 games behind Memphis for the eighth seed and could make the playoffs if they can play how they did before the season was suspended.

That will hinge not only on how De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield play, but also how Kings head coach Luke Walton utilizes second-year big man Marvin Bagley. This past weekend, Walton was asked about where does the former Duke standout fit on the court and responded by saying that Bagley is a position-less player.

“We see Marvin as a player that, down the road, is going to be pretty much a position-less type of basketball player,” Walton said. “For now, and getting him back, we got him getting most of his reps at the five and the four.”

Richard Ivanowski of The Sacramento Bee disagrees with Walton’s assessment and opines that Bagley should be considered a center or big man. Ivanowski points out that the former second overall pick struggles to shoot from three-point range (28.8%) and is not someone who can initiate the offense. Instead, Bagley is better around the rim and is an adequate defensive rebounder.

Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers guard Terance Mann, who is the team’s NBPA rep, told reporters on Tuesday that the players’ decision to play was “a pretty long process,” per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (Twitter link). The Clippers, who will be back in action on July 30 against the Lakers, had several Zoom conversations about the restart before deciding to participate, Mann said.
  • Mann also told reporters that he is back to full contact after undergoing hand surgery in March, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Anthony Slater and John Hollinger of The Athletic discussed the current state of the Lakers and where they’ll go from here. The Athletic duo talked about how Los Angeles did in free agency last summer, what to do with Kyle Kuzma (who is eligible for an extension this offseason), and Anthony Davis‘ future.
  • According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), veteran forward Markieff Morris, who has an excused absence, is expected to join the Lakers soon in Disney World.

Markieff Morris: I Want To Be “X-Factor” For Lakers

The Lakers‘ search to fortify their roster ahead of the playoffs led to the addition of veteran Markieff Morris once he secured a buyout from the Pistons. After L.A. struck out on acquiring Markieff’s twin brother Marcus at the deadline, the team pivoted its focus to the nine-year veteran.

Morris’ addition will give the Lakers another versatile, big body that can play around the perimeter and help the team in small ball lineups. The 30-year-old is excited to contribute to the team’s championship aspirations, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes.

“Me personally, I’m just trying to be the ‘X-factor’ that’s needed,” he said. “Whatever is needed out of me, I want to come in and provide.”

The other interesting wrinkle is the Morris twins playing in the same city, competing for a title. Marcus was traded to the Clippers ahead of the trade deadline, joining another team with NBA championship aspirations. Markieff admitted that his brother’s new team played a role in where he ended up signing.

“I think it had a little bit to do with it,” Markieff said. “Both of us are going to be competing for a championship and I think we both got a good shot and I was excited when he came to the Clippers and was more excited when I came to the Lakers.”

Lakers Sign Markieff Morris

FEBRUARY 23, 6:45pm: The Lakers have officially signed Morris, the team announced in a press release. As expected, Cousins has been waived to open up a roster spot.

FEBRUARY 23, 3:55pm: The Lakers will sign Morris using their $1.75MM disabled player exception once he clears waivers at 4 p.m. CST this afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

FEBRUARY 21, 5:04pm: Power forward Markieff Morris plans to sign with the Lakers once he clears waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Morris reached a buyout agreement with the Pistons on Friday afternoon and was placed on waivers. It’s possible another team could swoop in and claim Morris, who was making $3.2MM this season. However, Morris had a $3.36MM player option on the second year of his contract with Detroit. He let the Pistons off the hook with the buyout but that option would be restored if he were claimed.

A team would have to have a traded player exception big enough to accommodate Morris’ $3.2MM cap hit in order to claim him. Most contenders that fit the bill have tax or hard-cap concerns, making a claim unlikely.

The Lakers will have to make a roster move to add Morris. They’ll reportedly release injured center DeMarcus Cousins rather than a little-used rotation player like Troy Daniels, Quinn Cook, or Jared Dudley, despite head coach Frank Vogel recently suggesting that Cousins could get healthy for the playoffs.

Morris’ addition to the Lakers provides even more intrigue between the Los Angeles teams. He could wind up guarding his brother, Marcus Morris, if the Lakers and Clippers meet in the playoffs. Marcus Morris was traded to the Clippers in a deadline deal.

Markieff Morris, 30, has appeared in 44 games for the Pistons this season, averaging 11.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG with a .450/.397/.772 shooting line in 22.5 minutes per contest.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Cousins, Morris Twins, LeBron

Anthony Davis has experienced a few injury scares during his first season with the Lakers, including one Friday night, but he’s ending concerns about his ability to stay healthy, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. Davis missed almost an entire quarter after bumping knees Friday with Jaren Jackson Jr., but returned to finish off a 28-point, 13-rebound, seven-block performance.

Davis has appeared in 47 of L.A.’s 54 games so far, with the only extended absence being caused by a hard fall in early January that resulted in lower back soreness. It’s a welcome change for Lakers’ fans after Davis’ injury-filled history in New Orleans.

“As long as they tell me it’s nothing serious, I’ll go out there and play,” Davis said. “You don’t know until you check all the boxes. But anytime they tell me I’m cleared and it’s not going to hurt me to go out there and play, I’m going to try to go out there and play.”

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • The Lakers plan to waive injured center DeMarcus Cousins today to open a roster spot for Markieff Morris, but Cousins will remain with the team while he rehabs his torn ACL, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link from Stadium). Despite not playing, Cousins has been a valuable addition to the locker room, Charania adds, and the organization enjoys having him around.
  • With Markieff headed to the Lakers, twin brother Marcus Morris, now on the Clippers, envisions a scenario where they carpool to a potential playoff series, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We’re two competitive guys, that’s gonna be like really fun,” Marcus said. “Probably gonna ride to the game together. That don’t bother us, to have to go out there and compete — we’re pros, and both of us gonna go hard and both are gonna do the best we can do for our team.”
  • Coach Frank Vogel is looking forward to having the playoff version of LeBron James on his side after frequently watching him from the opposing bench, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Vogel’s Pacers teams suffered three playoff losses to James when he was on the Heat, including twice in the Eastern Conference finals. “He knew everything we were running before we even called it out,” Vogel recalled. “He knew stuff was coming with his anticipation, and intelligence went into that. The determination of whatever it would take to beat us, that is what he was going to do.”

L.A. Notes: Morris, Jackson, George, Beverley, Bryant

After failing to land Marcus Morris, the Lakers are set to add his twin brother Markieff Morris after the forward negotiated a buyout with the Pistons on Friday. While Markieff is not the offensive contributor that his brother is, he can still pack some punch for the Lakers, Sporting News’ Jacob Hancock writes.

Marcus is in the midst of his best season, averaging 19.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG while shooting 43.2% from beyond the arc. Markieff has posted more a modest 11.0 PPG whilst shooting a career-best 39.7% from three. Markieff gives the Lakers another big body to see time in the frontcourt along with Anthony DavisJaVale McGee and Dwight Howard. Additionally, Markieff’s presence will allow Kyle Kuzma — who has seen time at power forward — to play his more natural position at small forward.

The move figures to become official once Markieff clears waivers on Sunday.

Check more notes surrounding the L.A. teams:

  • To reach a buyout agreement with Detroit, Markieff gave up $4.3MM, the remainder of this season’s salary plus his player option for 2020/21, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
  • Despite practicing for two straight days, Paul George (hamstring) and Patrick Beverley (groin) have been ruled out of the Clippers‘ Saturday tilt against the Kings, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes. George’s hamstring has been a cause for concern this season while Beverley sat out the Skills Challenge to heal the groin. Head coach Doc Rivers has stressed the need for the Clippers to be healthy and establish chemistry heading into the playoffs.
  • In addition to acquiring Marcus Morris, the Clippers were also busy in the buyout market adding veteran guard Reggie Jackson. While Jackson figures to help the Clippers’ second unit off the bench, the opportunity will also allow him to play alongside longtime friend Paul George, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes.
  • The Lakers vs. Clippers game scheduled for January 28 that was postponed following Kobe Bryant‘s shocking death has been rescheduled for April 9 at Staples Center, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.