FEBRUARY 8: The Pistons have officially traded Morris to Minnesota in exchange for Milton, Brown, and the Timberwolves’ 2030 second-round pick, according to announcements from both teams.
Danilo Gallinari was waived by Detroit to complete the transaction.
FEBRUARY 7: The Timberwolves and Pistons are finalizing a trade that will send point guard Monte Morris to Minnesota, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
According to Charania (Twitter link), Detroit will receive Shake Milton, Troy Brown, and a second-round pick in the swap. The pick will be Minnesota’s own 2030 second-rounder, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link).
Morris was traded from Washington to Detroit during the 2023 offseason in exchange for a future second-round selection, but battled back and quad injuries that delayed his Pistons debut until late January. He has appeared in just six games so far this season and has made a limited impact, averaging 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 11.3 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .364/.182/.500.
However, Morris has a solid track record, having averaged 10.5 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 2.5 RPG on .480/.392/.829 shooting in 339 games across five seasons for the Nuggets and Wizards from 2018-23. He was a key contributor for many years in Denver under current Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
The Wolves had been in the market for a ball-handler who could back up starter Mike Conley. Jordan McLaughlin, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Kyle Anderson have all gotten some reps in that role, but Morris is a more reliable option as a backup point guard, assuming he stays healthy and rounds into his usual form.
Morris is on an expiring $9.8MM contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension before then. As cap expert Yossi Gozlan observes (via Twitter), the 28-year-old will remain eligible until June 30 to sign an extension of up to two years, but Minnesota already projects to be well into tax territory next season, so it’s possible he’ll end up being a rental.
The Wolves will remain about $1.6MM below the luxury tax line after the trade and will have a pair of open spots on their 15-man roster, Gozlan adds (via Twitter). They’ll also be able to create a $4MM trade exception in the deal.
By acquiring a second-round pick for Morris, the Pistons will recoup the price they initially paid for him and won’t impact their projected summer cap room. Milton is earning $5MM this season while Brown is making $4MM, and both players have identical non-guaranteed cap hits for next season.
Assuming the Pistons hang onto both Milton and Brown for the rest of the season, they’ll have to decide by the end of June whether they want to guarantee either player’s 2024/25 salary.
Detroit will have to trade or waive a player to complete the deal, since the club currently has a full 15-man roster.