Marcus Morris Sr. joins the long list of power forwards in this year’s rather thin NBA free-agent pool.
The 6-foot-8 stretch four was not supposed to be in the market for another year, since he initially verbally agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs before the 2019-20 campaign.
However, he reneged on that promise and chased a larger one-year payday with the New York Knicks. He became the main man on offense in The Big Apple and notched career-highs of 19.6 points on 43.9 percent shooting from distance in 43 games, before being shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline.
Joining the star-studded Clips line-up, Marcus Morris’ inflated point average dropped to 10.1 per game, while his success rate from downtown floundered to just 31 percent.
Despite his shooting struggles inside the NBA bubble, Marcus Morris is already a proven vet who can impact the game on both ends of the floor. He’ll definitely be a hot commodity this offseason.
It is also worth noting that Marcus Morris and his twin brother Markieff are both unrestricted free agents this year. Both brothers are represented by ROC Nation and could actually find a way to play for one team once more as they did with the Phoenix Suns.
Marcus Morris was quite thrilled to see his twin win an NBA title with the Lakers this season, but no doubt he also wants to experience that feat himself.
All in all, Morris has played for six NBA teams throughout his nine-year career. Here are three possible destinations for Marcus Morris in this year’s free agency period.
Los Angeles Clippers
The most logical move for Marcus Morris will be to run it back with the Clippers next season. His shooting was rather inconsistent particularly in the playoffs— so he likely wants to redeem himself under new head coach Tyrone Lue.
Despite the Clips’ disappointing 2019-20 campaign, the team is still primed to once again be strong contenders if they keep their core. Marcus Morris is in a good place as of the moment and could even get a bigger role on offense if he decides to return. In fact, he can actually lock that power forward slot full time with the expected departure of Motrezl Harrell in free agency.
The Clippers do have a mid-level exception they can offer the Kansas product, which may not be as substantial as the ones he’ll get from other teams.
However, the Clips can clear more space if they can pull off a sign-and-trade deal for Harrell and maybe add the likes of Rodney McGruder, Ivica Zubac, and JaMychal Green to fill in the gaps.
Plus, Marcus Morris now has more experience playing alongside the Clips’ current ensemble, so chemistry won’t be much of an issue this time around.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Morris twins are actually playing in LA at the moment and they could possibly get that reunion under the Purple and Gold banner. The Lakers are expected to retain Markieff after his terrific contributions to the team during their title run.
It’s no secret that the twins play best when sharing the same floor together — evidenced by their success during their high school and collegiate careers.
The reigning champions may actually have another opening at the forward position if they do decide to trade away Kyle Kuzma for a wing player like Bogdan Bogdanovic or if they pursue the rumored deal for Chris Paul. Marcus Morris’ veteran savvy playoff experience fits like a tee to the Lakeshow’s aspirations for a repeat.
That Morris reunion is also quite plausible with the Clippers, but the Lakers might actually have more cap flexibility to pull this off if they make the right deals. The Lakers have several free agents of their own from their championship core, and it’s unlikely they will be able to keep them all. This opens up some space to sign Marcus Morris and Markieff as well.
Granted that they share the same representation, the twins may agree on taking a bit of a pay-cut for a chance to once again be teammates at the pro-level.
While staying in LA ensures that Marcus Morris plays for a title contender, other not-so-successful teams with deep pockets can surely make a run for his services.
Enter the Charlotte Hornets, who have a history of overpaying free agents in the past. This is actually a possible choice for Marcus Morris if he decides to chase the big bucks once more.
The Hornets could actually have as much as $50.6 million in cap room if Nicolas Batum opts out and if they exercise their options with Devonte’ Graham, Jalen McDaniels, and Caleb Martin.
If Marcus Morris moves to the Queen City, he will likely have a starring role as he did with the Knicks. The Hornets may be a wild card destination for Morris, and this might only be plausible if Charlotte gives him an absurdly-high payday. Then again, this is the same team that gifted Batum a 5-year, $120M deal in 2016.
While the Hornets won’t be among the top teams in the East next year, the allure of playing for the Michael Jordan-owned franchise does have its perks.