Marcus Morris

Pacific Notes: Vanderbilt, Warriors, Howard, Morris

Lakers power forward Jarred Vanderbilt holds the unusual distinction of being traded away from two different teams by the same executive. When Tim Connelly ran the Nuggets, he sent Vanderbilt to Minnesota as part of a four-team trade at the 2020 deadline. He did the same thing last summer as the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, shipping Vanderbilt to Utah in the Rudy Gobert deal.

“(Timberwolves) got a new president/GM. Same one that came from (the Nuggets),” Vanderbilt said on the Tidal League “Run Your Race” podcast (video link from ClutchPoints). “… He traded me to Minnesota, then he got to Minnesota, traded me again to (the Jazz). I’m like ‘damn.’”

Things worked out fine for Vanderbilt, who played an important role in the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals and was recently rewarded with a four-year, $48MM extension. On the same podcast, Vanderbilt addressed rumors that he has grown over the summer (hat tip to Fan Nation).

“They saying I’m 6’11” now. … I don’t know,” Vanderbilt said. “That’s what the streets saying, I’m just the messenger.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Minority investors who own a little more than 10% of the Warriors are looking to sell their shares in the team, according to Giles Turner and Randall Williams of Bloomberg. They are reportedly asking for $700MM, which would put the team’s valuation at an NBA record $7 billion. The Warriors refused to confirm the rumor, issuing a statement that reads, “Per our organization policy, we do not comment on the potential sale or non-sale of ownership among our investment group.”
  • Dwight Howard posted a cryptic tweet on Saturday after the Warriors reportedly decided not to sign him or any other big man before the start of training camp. The 37-year-old center had two days of interviews with the team and worked out with some of its veteran players this week. “Only as a WARRIOR can one withstand the path of knowledge,” Howard wrote. “A WARRIOR cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge. And challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”
  • Marcus Morris‘ situation with the Clippers appears unsettled, but he won’t consider staying away from the team the way that Jae Crowder did with the Suns, sources tell Law Murray of The Athletic. Morris started all 65 games he appeared in last season, but Murray called him “unplayable” after Paul George was lost with a knee injury. Murray notes that Morris was brought in to be the third scoring option for a team without a ball-dominant point guard, but there’s no longer a need for that since the acquisition of Russell Westbrook.

Trade Rumors: LaVine, Garland, Rockets, Clippers, Blazers, Bucks

The Bulls have engaged with “several” teams about the possibility of a Zach LaVine trade this offseason, but haven’t gotten serious about moving the high-scoring guard, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

As Fischer explains, LaVine’s pricey long-term contract will make potential trade partners wary about giving up a substantial package of players and draft picks, but the Bulls would be seeking a return that far outweighs what Washington got for Bradley Beal last week.

Fischer names the Knicks and Mavericks as possible teams to watch for LaVine, but immediately throws cold water on the likelihood of either club emerging as a legitimate suitor in the near future. New York seems to be taking a more patient approach to building its roster, according to Fischer, who adds that Dallas was viewed as a more serious threat for LaVine before acquiring Kyrie Irving as a co-star for Luka Doncic.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Despite some speculation to the contrary, the Cavaliers haven’t had any discussions about trading Darius Garland and have no intention to move the All-Star point guard, sources tell Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). The Cavs appear focused on pursuing roster moves that don’t involve trading any of their four cornerstone players (Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen).
  • In addition to Kenyon Martin Jr., the Rockets have gauged potential trade interest in young players like Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher, sources tell Fischer.
  • Norman Powell and Marcus Morris have both been mentioned in recent days as trade candidates. According to Fischer, the Clippers have been canvassing the league to see what a package of both players might return.
  • No clear suitors have emerged for guard Anfernee Simons, who looks like the Trail Blazers‘ most obvious trade chip, says Fischer. According to Fischer, the Blazers and Cavaliers had some brief talks about Nassir Little prior to the draft, but didn’t gain any real traction toward a deal.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast that the Bucks had some “relatively serious” internal conversations about John Collins before he was dealt to Utah. “I do think Milwaukee is looking around for, like, ‘Can we get a little injection of randomness? (An) injection of, like, bounce and athleticism, and just change?'” Lowe said. “Maybe just change more than anything else. But I don’t think (the Collins interest) went anywhere serious.”

Stein’s Latest: Middleton, Lopez, Crowder, VanVleet, Harden, Poeltl, Suns, Morris

The Bucks appear to be in a good position to re-sign several of their key free agents, Marc Stein writes at Substack. Stein gets the sense that Khris Middleton‘s return to Milwaukee is “all but assured,” and says Brook Lopez seems to be leaning toward remaining with the Bucks too, despite the fact that he’ll draw interest from rival suitors like the Rockets.

Interestingly, Stein hears that Milwaukee is considered increasingly likely to re-sign forward Jae Crowder as well. A trade deadline acquisition, Crowder had a forgettable postseason, scoring just seven points and missing all six of his 3-point attempts in 41 total minutes of action. However, he was effective in 18 regular season appearances for the Bucks, who gave up several second-round picks to land him.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • After he wrote earlier this week about the Rockets‘ interest in Fred VanVleet, Stein has been told by a “flurry of informants” that Houston is believed to be looking to sign the point guard to a two-year, maximum-salary contract. Such a deal would be worth just shy of $84MM based on the NBA’s latest cap projections.
  • The latest rumblings Stein has heard suggest that James Harden will likely return to the Sixers on a two- or three- year deal and that Jakob Poeltl is expected to re-sign with the Raptors for about $20MM per year, whether or not VanVleet remains in Toronto.
  • Veteran forward Yuta Watanabe and former NBA guard Mike James have been mentioned as potential targets for the Suns as they look to fill out their roster around their stars, says Stein. James, who has spent the past two seasons with AS Monaco, last played in the NBA in Brooklyn in 2021 and is close with Durant.
  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris remains on the trade block after a proposed three-team deal that would have sent him to Washington fell through last week, Stein says.

Celtics, Wizards, Clippers Trade Talks Fall Through

The three-team trade that would have sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers, and Marcus Morris, Amir Coffey, Danilo Gallinari and the No. 30 pick to the Wizards has fallen through and the clubs have decided to move on, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While multiple reporters said the deal was nearing completion, Wojnarowski previously cautioned that there was more work to do to make an agreement official, and now the three-team trade has been shelved.

Sources tell Marc Stein that the Clippers had concerns over Brogdon’s medicals, which caused the three-team framework to collapse (Twitter link).

Brogdon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. He said after the Celtics’ season ended that he’d consider undergoing surgery on his shooting arm, though a report earlier today indicated he was optimistic about avoiding a procedure and would like to stay in Boston.

The Wizards are still working on a deal to send Porzingis to Boston, but the Clippers won’t be involved, according to both Wojnarowski and Stein.

It’s very rare for a details of a trade to emerge so publicly and seemingly be so close to the finish line and eventually fall through. Evidently the Clippers’ medical staff saw something they didn’t like though, so Boston decided to pivot and try to acquire Porzingis in new framework.

Brogdon has two years and $45MM left on his contract. It’s unclear if he’ll be involved in the new proposal.

Celtics, Clippers, Wizards Nearing Deal Involving Porzingis, Brogdon

3:49pm: The three teams are closing in on an agreement, reports Charania (Twitter link). According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), negotiations on the deal are “nearing the final stages.”

The Wizards are expected to receive the No. 30 pick in Thursday’s draft from the Clippers as part of the potential trade, Charania adds (via Twitter). Amir Coffey would also be sent from L.A. to D.C., according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who cautions (via Twitter) that there’s more work to do to complete an agreement.

2:34pm: There’s a “high possibility” of the three-team deal getting done, per Charania and Jared Weiss of The Athletic. The Athletic’s duo adds that Gallinari would likely be involved in the trade, since Boston needs to send out additional salary. Gallinari would head to Washington, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

1:55pm: The Celtics, Wizards, and Clippers are engaged in serious talks about a possible three-way trade that would send Porzingis to Boston, Brogdon to Los Angeles, and Marcus Morris and draft compensation to Washington, reports Charania (Twitter link).

More pieces would need to be included and it remains to be seen whether Porzingis will opt in, so nothing’s done yet. However, the framework makes some sense for all three teams, including the Clippers, who have been on the lookout for backcourt help.

1:18pm: The Celtics have interest in acquiring big man Kristaps Porzingis and are talking to the Wizards about a possible trade that would involve Porzingis picking up his 2023/24 player option, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link).

Porzingis’ decision on a $36MM player option is reportedly due on Wednesday, unless he and the Wizards agree to push back that deadline. If he were to opt out, the 27-year-old would be on track to reach unrestricted free agency and couldn’t be dealt this offseason unless it happened in a sign-and-trade deal.

Acquiring a player via sign-and-trade hard-caps a team at the first tax apron, so it would be simpler for the Celtics – a projected taxpayer – to trade for Porzingis if he were to pick up his option. That would make him immediately trade-eligible and wouldn’t result in hard-cap complications.

Porzingis is coming off perhaps the best season of his career. He averaged 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 65 games (32.6 MPG) in 2022/23, posting a shooting line of .498/.385/.851.

Still, Porzingis’ future in D.C. is murky following the upheaval in the team’s front office. The new group, led by president of basketball operations Michael Winger, is in the process of resetting the Wizards’ roster, starting with a trade that will send Bradley Beal to Phoenix.

According to Charania, the team hasn’t closed the door on working out a new deal with Porzingis, but the big man is receiving interest from rival suitors. It’s also unclear if he’d want to stick with the Wizards through a retooling process.

Charania doesn’t clarify what pieces the Celtics might include in an offer for Porzingis, but the team would have a variety of options for salary-matching in a trade. Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari is one hypothetical combination that would work. Derrick White and Marcus Smart will each make $18MM+ next season and could be traded, though Brogdon and his $22.5MM salary seem more likely to be included in an offer.

Robert Williams and Al Horford are among Boston’s other potential trade pieces if the team envisions Porzingis replacing one of them in the frontcourt rather than supplementing them. Restricted free agent Grant Williams could be a sign-and-trade chip. It at least seems safe to assume the Celtics will keep Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown out of any offer for Porzingis.

It’s also worth noting that the C’s have traded away their 2023 first-round pick and swap rights to their 2028 first-round selection, but are otherwise fairly unencumbered in offering future first-rounders.

Trade Rumors: T. Jones, Hawks, Spurs, Wolves, Jazz, Sexton

The Grizzlies are exploring the possibility of trading reserve point guard Tyus Jones, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

It’s an interesting rumor, given that starting point guard Ja Morant is expected to miss at least the first 25 games of the 2023/24 season due to a suspension. Jones, one of the league’s top backups, would presumably be promoted to the starting five if he remains in Memphis through the offseason, but apparently that’s not a given.

According to Fischer, with Dillon Brooks expected to move on in free agency, the Grizzlies are making it a priority to upgrade their wing depth. Fischer notes that the Spurs talked to Jones last summer before he re-signed with Memphis, but are probably unlikely to pursue him again this offseason after his brother Tre Jones emerged as San Antonio’s starter.

The Raptors (OG Anunoby) and the Clippers (several wings) are among the other teams that could make sense as destinations for Jones, Fischer writes, though Toronto may re-sign Fred VanVleet and has set a high asking price for Anunoby. Eric Gordon, Norman Powell, and Marcus Morris are among the veterans the Clippers could offer in a deal for Jones, according to Fischer, adding that Morris has been viewed as a trade candidate by rival teams since he fell out of the rotation near the end of last season.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, league sources have linked the Hawks to several teams in trade discussions, including the Celtics, Raptors, and Mavericks. O’Connor reiterates that Pascal Siakam is a player of interest for Atlanta, which Fischer previously reported.
  • There are rumblings that the Spurs are looking to acquire a second lottery selection in addition to their No. 1 pick, according to O’Connor, who wonders if the team might package its second-round picks (Nos. 33 and 44) with a “rising player” to try to move up. For what it’s worth, Spurs GM Brian Wright was asked if the team would consider moving Devin Vassell or Keldon Johnson in a deal for a first-round pick and said no, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “With this team we want to see what we have,” Wright said. “We have a group that has worked really hard. Where they were last year may not be what they are in the future. We want to see how things blend together.”
  • The Timberwolves, who currently hold only the No. 53 pick in Thursday’s draft, have been making inquiries to see if they could get into the first round, but haven’t gained traction on a deal, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • As ESPN suggested earlier today, the Jazz have contacted the Pistons about the possibility of trading up to No. 5 in the draft using the Nos. 9 and 16 picks, according to Fischer. However, while ESPN’s report indicated that Jarace Walker may be Utah’s target, Fischer suggests rival teams think the Jazz are after Anthony Black.
  • The Jazz have made veteran guard Collin Sexton available in trade talks, sources tell Fischer. Sexton has three years and $54.5MM left on the contract he signed a year ago.

L.A. Notes: Batum, Morris, Powell, D-Lo, Lakers, Schröder

Nicolas Batum is replacing Marcus Morris as the Clippers‘ starting forward and will stay in the role for the rest of the season, head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

It was nothing that Marcus did wrong, just trying something different,” Lue said. “And when you’re not playing well, you want to try something different, and Marcus was all for it. We have to sacrifice if we want to win at a high level.”

As Greif writes, there’s less clarity about who will back up Batum. Morris and Robert Covington are the two primary options, and Lue was noncommittal on which player might have the edge. At least for the immediate future, Covington should receive playing time, as Morris has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk).

Here’s more on the two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Clippers guard Norman Powell, who is questionable for Wednesday’s contest after missing the past 11 games with a left shoulder subluxation, will be reinserted into the rotation once he returns, Greif writes in the same piece. “We need him back. We need his juice. We need his scoring,” Lue said of Powell.
  • Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (hip) and big man Anthony Davis (foot) are probable to play in Wednesday’s game at Chicago, tweets Mark Medina of Forward LeBron James (foot) is questionable. Russell missed the past two games with his injury, while James just returned Sunday after a 13-game absence.
  • Guard Dennis Schröder, who is playing on a veteran’s minimum contract in his second stint with the Lakers, has provided a valuable spark all season long, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. “It’s a lot of energy, man. He plays with such a good passion. He’s energetic,” Davis said. “That’s how he plays, he’s scrappy and he saves a fastbreak, comes back down and draws a foul. He’s kind of another spark. Got the crowd into it. But that’s Dennis. That’s how he plays. … He’s leaving it all on the floor. Everyone is. I mean, the position that we’re in, you got to be able to leave it all on the floor, give 110%. And he’s giving like 150. He’s leaving it all on the floor, laying everything out on the line for us to get a win. And it’s contagious.”
  • Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group is skeptical the Clippers and Lakers can make deep playoff runs in the West, noting that injuries have played a role in the two teams’ inconsistency. She believes the Nuggets, Grizzlies and even the Kings should be favored over the two L.A. teams due to their continuity.

Clippers Notes: George, Weaknesses, Morris

All-Star Clippers forward Paul George discussed his recent right knee sprain on a brand-new episode of his show Podcast P (YouTube video link).

According to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), George indicated that he is unsure of exactly when he will return for L.A. as the season winds down. He is expected to have the ligament reassessed during the final week of the regular season.

“I’m gonna do whatever I can do to shorten the [return] process,” George said, adding that he feared he had torn his ACL when he first went down with the injury.

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • Without George, the Clippers are kicking off a key week for their playoff standing. A 131-110 Saturday blowout at the hands of the Pelicans exposed some big weaknesses for the team, writes Law Murray of The Athletic. Pace and age are two noteworthy issues, Murray notes. “They’re generally a really good team in the half court defensively,” Pelicans guard CJ McCollum said. “Transition-wise, not so great. So we just tried to get out and run, get stops, and create easy baskets.”
  • The Clippers have revealed that forward Marcus Morris will miss tonight’s game against the Bulls with an illness, Greif reports (via Twitter).
  • In case you missed it, Rory Maher of Hoops Rumors recently unpacked the Clippers’ three-team trade to reacquire their own 2008 lottery pick, Eric Gordon.

Draymond Green Receives 16th Technical, Faces Suspension

Warriors forward/center Draymond Green received a technical foul on Wednesday night against the Clippers, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

As Kendra Andrews of ESPN notes (via Twitter), it was Green’s 16th technical foul, so he will be suspended for Friday’s game versus Atlanta unless it’s rescinded by the NBA.

According to Greif (Twitter link), shortly after Green’s technical he was involved in a scuffle with Clippers forward Marcus Morris. Upon an official review of the incident, Morris received a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game.

Last week, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he hadn’t spoken to Green about being on the technical threshold, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link).

I’ve never said one word to Draymond, and he’s never gone over the limit,” Kerr said. “He always comes right up to the edge and then he stops. He knows how valuable he is, I don’t have to say anything to him. He knows that he can’t get that next one; we need him.”

Wednesday’s matchup between the Warriors and Clippers — and Green’s imminent suspension — could have a huge impact on the Western Conference playoff race. The two teams have an identical 36-33 record, and both could easily go as high as the No. 4 seed or even drop out of the play-in tournament entirely depending on how the rest of the season plays out.

A four-time All-Star and seven-time All-Defensive team member, Green is averaging 8.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 6.8 APG and 1.0 SPG on .525/.324/.705 shooting through 61 games (31.4 MPG) this season.

Norman Powell Sidelined With Left Shoulder Subluxation

The Clippers are missing several rotation regulars for their game on Friday in Sacramento, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

Forward Kawhi Leonard is out on the second of a back-to-back due to right knee injury management, forward Marcus Morris is out with an injured elbow, and center Ivica Zubac, who has missed three of the past four games with a strained right calf, remains sidelined.

The most noteworthy injury on the injury report is swingman Norman Powell, who was ruled out with a left shoulder subluxation — that’s the same injury that Stephen Curry sustained earlier this season, which caused him to miss 11 games (just under four weeks).

As Greif notes, Jeff Stotts of wrote about shoulder subluxation at the time of Curry’s injury and stated that the average absence since the 2005/06 season for a player dealing with that issue is approximately 21 days.

The Clippers have stated that Powell will undergo treatment and therapy for at least the next week (Twitter link via Greif). At that point, the team should have a clearer sense of when he’ll be able to return to action.

Powell is L.A.’s third-leading scorer this season at 16.6 points per game, so he’ll certainly be missed. However, it’s possible his absence (and others) will help simplify some rotation decisions for Tyronn Lue, who is still determining how best to use the Clippers’ new-look roster after the team added Eric Gordon, Mason Plumlee, Bones Hyland, and Russell Westbrook in recent weeks.