Marcus Morris

Central Notes: Mitchell, Morris, Lillard, Nesmith

Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell addressed speculation about his future Friday night after returning to the lineup following a six-game absence due to a broken nose and knee issues, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Speaking to the media for the first time since being sidelined, Mitchell said he wants to focus on the rest of the season and the playoffs rather than his contract.

“I think the biggest thing for me, as I said before to you earlier, I mean obviously you have to ask the question, but my focus is I got a lot of things to focus on outside of that right now,” he said. “I’ve got to focus on myself, getting back for this group, focus on us getting over this stretch, continuing to be ready when it comes time. So, I’ll handle that when it comes, and I understand you gotta ask that question and I’ll give you the same answer.”

The question is relevant because Mitchell will become eligible for a four-year extension this summer worth approximately $200MM. If he decides not to accept it, the Cavs may start looking for a trade to avoid the risk of losing him in free agency in 2025. There have been rumors for years that the New York City native would prefer to play at home, and Vardon notes that many other teams will also have offers ready for Cleveland if Mitchell becomes available.

Teammate Georges Niang and Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert recently expressed optimism that Mitchell will be part of the team’s long-term future, Vardon adds, with Gilbert indicating that the organization has been talking to Mitchell about an extension since he was acquired from Utah.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Even though he didn’t spend much time with his hometown Sixers, Cavaliers forward Marcus Morris is grateful that he got to play for them, according to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia acquired Morris from the Clippers in early November, then shipped him to San Antonio at the trade deadline in February. After being waived by the Spurs, he agreed to a 10-day deal with the Cavs and signed for the rest of the season on Friday. “I built a really good relationship with those guys,” Morris said of the Sixers. “A lot of good things happened for me and my family while I was there. … They actually did me a favor by bringing me home, giving me an opportunity to check off something on my bucket list. I’m happy for them. Still watch them. I still connect with those guys. And I’m rooting for them — just not against us.”
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard missed tonight’s game in Atlanta for personal reasons, and coach Doc Rivers told reporters he might not be available for Tuesday’s contest at Washington, per Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel. “Just miss the ‘when you need a bucket, you have Dame,'” Rivers said. “Also just running the team at times. It shortens your rotation again. Khris (Middleton) is still on a semi-minute restriction, even though we’ve ignored it a couple times. Just shortens your rotation.”
  • The Pacers defeated the Lakers Friday night, holding them to 60 fewer points than when the teams met over the weekend in L.A., notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. A big part of the difference was the defensive effort by Aaron Nesmith, who committed just one foul while limiting LeBron James to 16 points. “I just stuck to the game plan,” Nesmith said. “He challenges you, but I just did a good job tonight.”

Cavaliers Sign Marcus Morris For Rest Of Season

MARCH 29: The Cavaliers have officially signed Morris for the remainder of the season, the team confirmed today in a press release.

MARCH 28: Forward Marcus Morris saw his 10-day contract with the Cavaliers expire overnight, temporarily making him an unrestricted free agent.

However, he won’t remain a free agent for long — according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link), the Cavs plan to bring Morris back on a deal that covers the remainder of the 2023/24 season.

Many players who sign 10-day deals don’t play much for their new clubs, but that was not the case for Morris. He averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game across his five appearances with Cleveland.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Morris has technically been on four teams this season, but he didn’t play in any games for two of them (the Clippers and Spurs). He was sent from L.A. to Philadelphia in the James Harden deal, then shipped from Philly to San Antonio at the February deadline.

The 34-year-old was waived by the Spurs at the end of last month, making him eligible for the playoffs. He found a new team a couple weeks later when he signed with Cleveland.

The Cavs have one opening on their standard roster, which means they don’t need to cut anyone to re-sign Morris. Their 18-man roster will be full once the deal is official.

Central Notes: Morris, DeRozan, Terry, Cunningham, Duren

Cavaliers forward Marcus Morris, who is on a 10-day contract, was ejected from Monday’s win over the Hornets, according to ESPN News Services. Morris threw a high elbow that struck Charlotte center Nick Richards in the jaw.

Morris said he wanted to send a message to his new Cavaliers teammates: “There’s been a lot of grueling games and I was just wanted to toughen us up. Step in front of it like, listen this is what’s going to be expected moving forward, not just for today. Set the precedent going into the playoffs. We’re not about to have anybody coming in here and doing what they want to do. I wanted to play the game, I didn’t want to get thrown out, but I definitely wanted to put a little lick on him. I was happy the way we responded.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls lost by two points to Washington on Monday. DeMar DeRozan was angry that his team didn’t take advantage of a matchup against a depleted team playing out the string, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “All these games matter. You want to be playing good basketball towards this part of the season,” DeRozan said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to be pissed off until we get back out on the court. We shouldn’t drop games like this right now. We’re resilient. But we can’t live on the edge every game. We gotta leave it out there these last 10 games. We can’t have no more excuses. We gotta play like your life depends on it.”
  • Bulls forward Dalen Terry has been working on his three-point shot since being drafted in the first round in 2022. However, it hasn’t shown on the court. He’s shooting 24.1% from deep this season. “I definitely believe it’s going to be a real big offseason for me, just taking care of my shot,” Terry told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times.
  • The Pistons are listing Cade Cunningham as questionable and Jalen Duren as probable for Wednesday’s game at Minnesota, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Cunningham has missed the last two games due to knee soreness, while Duren has sat out three games due to back spasms.

Sixers Notes: Harden, Maxey, Harris, Oubre

The James Harden trade saga is a distant memory for the Sixers as they prepare to face the Clippers on Sunday, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harden began the season with Philadelphia, but he demanded a trade after a falling out with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey over what Harden considers to be broken promises in contract negotiations. After publicly blasting Morey multiple times, disrupting training camp and threatening to hold out, Harden was shipped to L.A. in a November 1 deal.

“I don’t know if anybody’s even mad anymore,” coach Nick Nurse said. “Are they?”

In addition to a reunion with Harden, this weekend in Los Angeles is providing a homecoming for two of the players the Sixers received in the trade, Pompey adds. KJ Martin told reporters he still considers the city to be his home, and Nicolas Batum spoke to a group of French media members following Friday’s game with the Lakers. Robert Covington didn’t make the trip as he rehabs a bone bruise in his knee, and Marcus Morris was traded again in February and later signed with Cleveland.

One Sixers player who’s especially excited to face Harden is Tyrese Maxey, who said he learned a lot during the time they were teammates.

“I tell him all the time [that] he did a lot for me in his short time here,” Maxey said. “Not just for my basketball skills, but for my basketball mind and my basketball confidence. I’m already a confident person. But when James Harden — as somebody who’s an MVP, scoring champ, assist champ, all those things — believes in you [and] he wants you to go out there be ultra-aggressive, even when he’s on the court and Joel (Embiid)’s on the court, you can’t do anything but appreciate that.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • With Harden gone and Embiid sidelined due to meniscus surgery, Maxey is seeing much different looks from opposing defenses than he did at the start of the season, observes Mark Medina of Sportskeeda. Teams are focusing their coverage on Maxey, who said he studies other players to see how they deal with it. “I watch a little bit of Donovan Mitchell, a little bit of Jalen Brunson and a little bit of Kyrie Irving when he was in Boston,” Maxey said. “I’ve watched guys that were either primary or secondary scorers that have gotten trapped, blitzed and different things like that. … They’re able to manipulate the defense and get their teammates open.”
  • In a separate story, Tobias Harris talked to Medina about the ups and downs he has faced this season and the challenge of trying to remain competitive without Embiid. “The big thing is weathering the storm and figuring out ways that we can get better and continue to build off the positives on what we’ve been able to show,” Harris said. “We have to hold the fort down until we get the big fella back and all of our pieces are all together. Hopefully we get (De’Anthony) Melton back as well.”
  • Kelly Oubre has embraced Bruce Lee’s “be water” philosophy as he adapts to a constantly changing role, Pompey adds in another piece.

Marcus Morris Joins Cavaliers On 10-Day Contract

MARCH 18: Morris’ signing is official, according to’s transactions log.

MARCH 16: The Cavaliers will sign veteran forward Marcus Morris to a 10-day contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Morris is expected to be available when Cleveland travels to Indiana on Monday, Charania adds.

Morris, 34, has been a free agent since being waived by San Antonio on February 29. He didn’t appear in any games with the Spurs after being acquired in a trade at the deadline, and he hasn’t been on the court since February 5.

The Cavs will be the fourth team this season for Morris, who started off with the Clippers before being shipped to his hometown Sixers as part of the James Harden trade in early November. Morris mostly played a reserve role for Philadelphia, appearing in 37 games and averaging 6.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per night.

In Cleveland, Morris will provide frontcourt depth for a team playing without Evan Mobley, who is sidelined with a sprained left ankle. Morris will also add a heavy dose of veteran leadership and playoff experience to the locker room.

After Monday’s game, Cleveland will play five more times in the 10-day span. Morris will be eligible for a second 10-day deal, but he’ll have to be signed to a standard contract to be on the roster for the postseason.

The Cavaliers have been carrying a roster opening since Sharife Cooper‘s 10-day contract expired last week, so they won’t need another move before making Morris’ contract official.

Patrick Beverley first stated on Friday (via Twitter) that his former teammate was planning to sign with the Cavaliers.

Marcus Morris Finalizes Buyout Agreement With Spurs

5:31pm: The Spurs have officially waived Morris, the team announced in a press release.

4:07pm: Marcus Morris and the Spurs have agreed to a buyout, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets.

Morris will hit the waiver wire before the Friday night deadline for free agents to be eligible for the postseason. He can now look for an opportunity to join a playoff contender.

Morris was dealt from Philadelphia to San Antonio at the trade deadline in a three-team swap involving the Sixers, Pacers and Spurs. It was expected he’d get a buyout from San Antonio, which sits at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Morris won’t be able to return to Philadelphia this season. He also can’t sign with the Celtics, Nuggets, Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Bucks and Suns since those teams have salaries above the first or second tax aprons.

Morris was on an expiring $17.1MM contract this season. That figure is well above the mid-level exception ($12.4MM), which makes teams above the tax aprons ineligible to sign him under the CBA rules.

A couple of weeks ago, former teammate Patrick Beverley (Twitter link) said Morris was leaning toward the Timberwolves if he was bought out.

Morris didn’t suit up for San Antonio. He appeared in 37 games with Philadelphia this season, including seven starts. The 34-year-old averaged 6.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 17.2 minutes before the trade to San Antonio.

Morris started regularly for the Clippers the past three-plus seasons before being sent to the Sixers as part of the James Harden trade in November. He has averaged 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 820 career games. He’s a career 37.7% 3-point shooter, which should add to his appeal once he clears waivers.

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Strus, Lillard, Haliburton

With an established rotation already in place, the chances of the Cavaliers adding help in the buyout market are “incredibly low,” according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The recent returns from injury by Darius Garland and Evan Mobley have given the team a healthy roster, leaving no obvious role for a buyout player to fill. Sources tell Fedor that the front office is being honest with prospective additions about the shortage of available playing time.

Many of the top names on the market — such as Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and Delon Wright — have already committed to other teams. Fedor hears that Cleveland had interest in Danilo Gallinari, but the veteran forward chose Milwaukee, where he’ll have a better shot at regular minutes. Marcus Morris appears unlikely to land with the Cavs since he’s reportedly leaning toward the Timberwolves if the Spurs buy him out, according to former teammate Patrick Beverley (Twitter link).

Fedor says Cleveland would like to add one more shooter off its bench, which makes former Net Joe Harris and ex-Sixer Furkan Korkmaz intriguing names to watch. The Cavaliers have liked Korkmaz for a long time and made an effort to sign him in free agency in 2021, according to Fedor. He also mentions Davis Bertans and Seth Curry as options if they agree to buyouts with the Hornets and considers the PistonsEvan Fournier as a more remote possibility.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are committed to Max Strus as a starter and are unlikely to shake up their starting five before the end of the season, Fedor adds in the same piece. The team pursued Strus last summer to provide improved shooting and floor spacing, and Fedor notes that he requires constant attention from opposing defenses, even though his shooting numbers have declined. Fedor also points out that coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants a longer look at his current starting lineup, which has been limited to 239 total minutes together because of injuries.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard doesn’t bring much strategy to the Three-Point Contest, which he won for the second straight year Saturday night, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I didn’t prepare at all,” Lillard said. “I think that’s the key to it. I kept telling (teammate Malik Beasley) my first two times I did it, I was practicing, I had racks, I was trying to get ready for it and I just went out there and I didn’t win. And then last year, I never practiced. I never shot off a rack. I just showed up and won.”
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton plans to keep trying for a three-point title after a close call on his home court, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton was in a four-way deadlock for the best score after the first round, but he lost in a tie-breaker and failed to reach the finals. “I think I’m going to just keep coming back until they don’t allow me to, and eventually I’m going to win one,” he said.

Sixers, Pacers, Spurs Complete Hield, McDermott Deals As Three-Team Trade

The Pacers, Sixers, and Spurs have folded a pair of separate trade agreements into a single transaction, announcing in a series of press releases that the deals sending Buddy Hield to Philadelphia and Doug McDermott to Indiana have been officially completed as a three-team trade.

The Pacers initially agreed to acquire Marcus Morris, Furkan Korkmaz, three second-round picks, and cash from Philadelphia in exchange for Hield, then reached a deal to flip Morris, one of those second-rounders to San Antonio, and cash for McDermott. Those three pieces will go directly to the Spurs instead.

Here are the full details:

  • Sixers acquire Hield.
  • Pacers acquire McDermott, Korkmaz, the Raptors’ 2024 second-round pick (from Sixers), the Trail Blazers’ 2029 second-round pick (from Sixers), and cash (from Sixers).
  • Spurs acquire Morris, the Clippers’ 2029 second-round pick (from Sixers), and cash (from Sixers).

The 2024 second-round pick going from Philadelphia to Indiana technically includes “most favorable” language and could come from a different team, but there’s essentially no chance it won’t be Toronto’s second-rounder, given their place in the standings.

Folding the two trades into one deal doesn’t materially change much, but it will introduce one notable new wrinkle. If Morris had been traded to Indiana, then sent to San Antonio in a separate deal, he would’ve been eligible to re-sign with the Sixers in the event the Spurs buy him out. However, due to the structure of the deal, he now won’t be permitted to sign with Philadelphia if he’s waived by San Antonio.

A player is prohibited from rejoining a team that traded him if his new team waives him, but if he’s traded twice before being cut, he’s only ineligible to join the club that traded him most recently.

Korkmaz, who is being waived by the Pacers, will also be prohibited from re-signing with the Sixers, though as we noted in a separate story, that was never a likely outcome.

For more details on the Hield and McDermott deals, check out our full stories on the trade agreements.

Spurs Trading Doug McDermott To Pacers

The Pacers will acquire Doug McDermott from the Spurs, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

San Antonio will receive Marcus Morris, a second-round pick, and cash in return, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). One of the picks is in 2029, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Morris, whom Indiana is acquiring from Philadelphia in the Buddy Hield trade, will likely be bought out by San Antonio, Charania adds (Twitter link).

If Morris becomes a free agent, he would be ineligible to return to the Pacers or join the seven teams operating above the first or second tax apron: the Celtics, Nuggets, Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Bucks and Suns. Morris would be able to return to the Sixers if the trades involving Hield and McDermott are separate, rather than one three-team transaction.

The Pacers will create a $3.4MM trade exception in the deal, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). They also get a useful shooter after sending Hield to Philadelphia, while adding some draft assets.

McDermott returns to Indiana, where he spent three seasons before leaving for San Antonio in a sign-and-trade deal in 2021. The 32-year-old forward has seen his playing time reduced this season, but he’s a career 41.2% career shooter from long distance and is connecting at 43.9% through 46 games this season.

Although Morris is unlikely to join the Spurs, it’s something of a reunion for him as well. Gozlan notes that he was close to signing with San Antonio five years ago before changing his mind.

Pacers To Trade Buddy Hield To Sixers

The Pacers and Sixers have agreed on a trade that will send sharpshooter Buddy Hield to Philadelphia, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Indiana will receive forward Marcus Morris, guard Furkan Korkmaz, and three second-round picks.

The Sixers will also sent the Pacers $1.5MM in cash, a league source tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Pompey reports that the draft picks involved in the deal will be the Raptors’ 2024 second-rounder, and the Clippers’ and Trail Blazers’ 2029 second-rounders.

Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the two teams were nearing a deal for Hield.

Although he’s having a down year relative to his career rates, Hield remains one of the NBA’s most dangerous outside shooters. The 31-year-old is averaging 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 25.7 minutes per night (52 games) so far in 2023/24, with a 38.4% three-point rate on 6.9 attempts per contest.

Hield saw his role cut back this season on a deep Indiana roster — his 9.9 field goal attempts per game represent his lowest mark since he was a rookie in 2016/17.

However, he’s a career 40.1% three-point shooter and has knocked down at least 262 total threes in each of the past five seasons prior to this one. His now-former teammate Tyrese Haliburton raved this week about Hield’s ability to space the floor and create room for others to operate.

The Sixers had been in the market for size and shooting ahead of the trade deadline and will achieve one of those goals without compromising their projected cap room for this offseason, since Hield – like Morris and Korkmaz – is on an expiring contract. They also didn’t have to give up a first-round pick, which Indiana had been seeking for Hield as recently as Wednesday, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.

As cap expert Yossi Gozlan notes (via Twitter), Hield’s $19.3MM cap hit for this season will be adjusted upward to $19.8MM as a result of the trade, since some of the playoff-related bonuses in his contract that were considered unlikely will now be deemed likely. Hield is extension-eligible through June 30, though he’d be limited to a two-year deal and 5% raises if he inks a new deal prior to free agency.

Philadelphia remains about $1.6MM above the luxury tax line, Gozlan adds (via Twitter), and can create a $5.4MM trade exception in the deal.

Hield had long been considered a trade candidate for the Pacers, who explored a preseason extension with the veteran shooting guard and couldn’t agree to terms. Recognizing that they likely wouldn’t keep Hield beyond this season, Indiana decided to get what it could for him now.

The Pacers won’t have to waive a player to complete the deal, since they have two open spots on their 15-man roster following the expiration of James Johnson‘s 10-day contract on Wednesday night.

It’s unclear if Indiana intends to hang onto both Morris and Korkmaz. A physical, versatile forward and a Philadelphia native, Morris averaged 6.7 PPG and 2.9 RPG on .439/.400/.861 shooting in 37 games (17.2 MPG) for the Sixers this season, while Korkmaz chipped in 2.5 PPG on .395/.350/.700 shooting in 35 contests (8.6 MPG).

Morris is making $17.1MM; Korkmaz’ cap hit is $5.4MM.