Marcus Morris

Cavs Notes: Mitchell, Garland, Morris, Bickerstaff, Nori

After previously reporting for The Athletic that people around the league expect Donovan Mitchell to sign an extension with the Cavaliers, Shams Charania reiterated on Thursday that Cleveland is optimistic about that outcome (Twitter video link via FanDuel’s Run It Back Show). That aligns with what president of basketball operations Koby Altman said on Friday about the star guard.

That same report also stated that if Mitchell inks an extension, Darius Garland‘s agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, “would have a conversation with Cavs officials on potentially finding a new home for the one-time All-Star.”

In an interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Paul didn’t exactly refute that rumor.

As of now, there’s nothing to discuss on that,” Paul said as part of a larger quote. “My job is to evaluate every situation for every guy that we as a company represent. I’m a representative of players, and I help advise them on business decisions. It’s a lot more to it than just negotiating a contract after four years. Some guys choose to do that and only focus on that. I’m different. I try to look at everything.

You try to position guys a certain way to continue to have value. … And so these guys have to make sure they understand that having the talent they have, and the production, allows them to maintain value.”

When asked about potentially splitting up the backcourt tandem, Altman said, “I don’t see why we should” (Twitter link via Danny Cunningham of Cleveland Magazine).

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Veteran forward Marcus Morris was only with the Cavaliers for about two months, but he admits he saw signs of disconnect between the team and J.B. Bickerstaff, he said on Run It Back (Twitter video links). Bickerstaff was fired on Thursday after leading the Cavs to the second round of the playoffs. The 34-year-old unrestricted free agent also said he expects Mitchell to stay with the Cavs. “I think Cleveland is a great place for (Mitchell)…I would be highly surprised if he left.”
  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic argues that Bickerstaff deserved to stay on the job for another season, writing that the 45-year-old “consistently had his players’ backs, even when they didn’t have his.” Lloyd also contends that Altman didn’t want to fire Bickerstaff but felt forced to due to Mitchell’s contract situation — the five-time All-Star was one of the players who reportedly questioned the coach’s “tactics and strategies.”
  • Appearing on NBA Today (YouTube link), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst agreed with Lloyd about Altman’s decision, pointing out that there’s an “extreme closeness” between the Bickerstaff family and Altman. J.B.’s father Bernie Bickerstaff has been a longtime advisor to the Cavs and Altman.
  • According to Windhorst, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori is a potential name to watch in the Cavaliers’ coaching search. The Cavs’ vacancy may be more attractive than normal due the strength of the Western Conference and perceived weakness of the East — Windhorst has heard player agents are trying to steer their clients to the East too.
  • In an Insider-only story, ESPN’s Bobby Marks outlines the options Mitchell and the Cavs will have this offseason. Marks also explores hypothetical trades from teams that would have interest in Mitchell if he becomes available.

Cavs’ Jarrett Allen, Magic’s Gary Harris Out For Game 6

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will miss a second consecutive game on Friday due to his right rib contusion, having been ruled out for Game 6 in Orlando, writes Chris Fedor of According to Fedor, Allen participated in this morning’s shootaround and had hoped to play, but he’s still having trouble lifting his arm, with certain movements causing pain.

“It’s the same thing. It’s his safety, always,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff of Allen’s status during his pregame media session. “When you have an injury to your core, your ability to change directions, get out of the way, move freely and play in the trenches like he does. We will always look out for Jarrett.”

Allen dominated the first two games of the series, averaging 16.0 points and 19.0 rebounds in a pair of Cavaliers wins. He put up solid numbers (18.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG) in Games 3 and 4 as well, but Cleveland was outscored by 30 points during his time on the court after outscoring Orlando by 22 during his minutes in the first two games.

The Cavs managed to pull out a victory at home on Tuesday without Allen to take a 3-2 lead in the series, as fellow big man Evan Mobley stepped up to provide 14 points, 13 rebounds, and a game-saving block. He’ll man the middle again on Friday with Allen still on the shelf.

While Isaac Okoro took Allen’s spot in the starting unit in Game 5, it’ll be Marcus Morris who gets the start in Game 6 next to Mobley, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Max Strus, according to Fedor.

On the other side of the ball, veteran swingman Gary Harris, who has started the first five games of the first round, will be unavailable due to a right hamstring strain, the team announced (Twitter link).

Harris hasn’t produced big postseason numbers, but Orlando won his minutes in four consecutive contests from Games 2 through 5. He’ll be replaced in the starting lineup by Jonathan Isaac, creating a super-sized frontcourt alongside Wendell Carter, Paolo Banchero, and Franz Wagner to complement point guard Jalen Suggs.

Central Notes: Portis, Giannis, Lillard, LaVine, Morris, Pistons

Bucks forward Bobby Portis, who was ejected in the first quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 loss in Indiana, apologized to his teammates prior to Game 5, then matched Khris Middleton‘s game-high 29 points in Milwaukee’s home win on Tuesday, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN.

“I’m an emotional player, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I give my all every night and take pride of being available for my team,” Portis said on Tuesday. “Game 4, little scuffle, maybe crossed the line. I let my team down by getting ejected and not being available for my team. I owed them an apology for sure.”

With Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) and Damian Lillard (Achilles tendinitis) both unavailable for Game 5, the rest of the Bucks’ starters came up big to extend the team’s season. Portis (29 points, 10 rebounds), Middleton (29 points, 12 rebounds), and Patrick Beverley (13 points, 12 assists) each posted double-doubles, while Malik Beasley and Brook Lopez combined for 30 points.

The Bucks are still down 3-2 to the Pacers in the series, but forcing a Game 6 on Thursday gives Antetokounmpo and Lillard another chance to return to the court. Their availability remains up in the air, but head coach Doc Rivers expressed some optimism after Tuesday’s victory.

“I think they’re very, very, very close,” Rivers said of his two stars, per Collier.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Zach LaVine is “well ahead” of the four-to-six month recovery timeline the Bulls set after he underwent right foot surgery in February, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Johnson says LaVine’s goal remains to resume on-court work at around the three-month mark, in the hopes of having a “relatively normal” offseason. Both Johnson and Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times reiterate that trying to make a LaVine trade is the top priority for the Bulls this summer — that task should be less complicated if he’s healthy.
  • After joining the Cavaliers as a free agent in March, veteran forward Marcus Morris didn’t play a significant role down the stretch, averaging 15.0 minutes per game in 12 regular season appearances and sitting out the team’s first two playoff contests. But he was a key contributor off the bench in Tuesday’s Game 5 win, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic, scoring 12 points and grabbing three rebounds in 26 minutes of action. “We knew what he’s capable of,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Morris, who was a +8 in the one-point victory. “He’s just a guy you trust. And he’s been through these battles before. He’s tough as nails. He’s not afraid of s–t.”
  • Within his latest mailbag for The Athletic, James L. Edwards III discusses whether Brandon Ingram is a realistic trade target for the Pistons and checks in on Detroit’s president of basketball operations search. Confirming reporting from Marc Stein, Edwards says Dennis Lindsey is a name to watch for the Pistons. Edwards also mentions Bulls general manager Marc Eversley and Timberwolves executive VP of basketball operations Sachin Gupta as possible candidates to keep an eye on.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Oubre, Hield, Payne

The toughness that Joel Embiid displayed in Game 3 will have to continue for the Sixers to have any chance to win their series with New York, writes Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite dealing with the pain of a surgically repaired left knee and the difficulties brought on by a mild case of Bell’s palsy, Embiid set a career playoff high with 50 points in Thursday’s crucial victory.

With two days to rest before the series resumes Sunday, Embiid is embracing the challenges of playoff basketball, no matter what physical ailments he has to overcome.

“I want to play as much as possible. I only have about, maybe, eight years left. So I have to enjoy this as much as possible and I want to win,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep pushing. I’m not going to quit. If it’s on one leg, I’m still going to go out there and try, but that’s not an excuse. Got to keep playing better, and better, and better.”

After Game 3, Embiid called the Bell’s palsy “an unfortunate situation” and told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of ESPN, that it started with migraine headaches shortly before Philadelphia’s play-in game last week. He explained that the condition sometimes causes blurred vision, and he frequently has to put drops in left eye to keep it from drying out.

“It’s pretty annoying, you know, with the left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. So yeah, it’s been tough,” Embiid said. “But I’m not a quitter, so gotta keep fighting. But yeah, it’s unfortunate. That’s the way I look at it. But it’s not an excuse. Gotta keep pushing.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Kelly Oubre responded to the Knickscomplaints about officiating after Game 3, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. In addition to a free throw disparity, New York players were upset about a Flagrant 1 foul that Embiid committed when he grabbed Mitchell Robinson‘s leg, with Donte DiVincenzo calling it a “dirty play.” Oubre said he has been on the receiving end of that type of contact and doesn’t consider it dirty. He also called for a focus on basketball instead of threats of retaliation. “It’s like, let’s just hoop,” Oubre said at today’s practice. “Let’s go out there and play hard and nobody’s gonna fight. This ain’t WWE. So at the end of the day, stand on the stuff that’ll say so we’ll see tomorrow how they react.”
  • Philadelphia police are conducting an internal investigation into whether Oubre received preferential treatment following his auto accident early Tuesday morning, tweets Michael J. Babcock of TMZ Sports. Oubre, who is accused of running a red light and hitting another car, wasn’t cited or given a sobriety test or breathalyzer.
  • Buddy Hield played just four minutes in Game 3 and appears to have been replaced in the rotation by Cameron Payne, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hield didn’t get off the bench after the first quarter, while Payne contributed 11 points and three assists in nearly 16 minutes. Hield has been a disappointment since being acquired from Indiana at the deadline, and Pompey suggests the Sixers would probably rather have Marcus Morris, who was shipped to San Antonio in the three-team trade.

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.