The Los Angeles Lakers did not have an ideal first season with LeBron James leading the way. After the disappointment, they are coming into the NBA offseason hoping to improve their roster drastically. One under-the-radar free agent that they should consider is Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris.
Rob Pelinka is now in full charge of roster moves with Magic Johnson no longer in town. He will have a tough task to get the Lakers back into title contention and rumors have been swirling that L.A. is working hard to swing a deal for New Orleans Pelicans’ star big man Anthony Davis. Even if they get that deal done, the Lakers will need to add more talent around James and Davis.
Morris may not be viewed as a difference maker, but his numbers show otherwise. Morris was one of the most consistent pieces the Celtics had this season and is going to be a very intriguing free agent.
During the 2018-19 season with the Celtics, Morris ended up averaging 13.9 points per game to go along with 6.1 rebounds. He shot 44.7 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 37.5 percent of his attempts from the three-point arc.
Those numbers show a very intriguing player that could help a championship contender in a big way. He can play a combo role in the front-court, but is best suited at power forward. That is a position that the Lakers could use some depth in behind Kyle Kuzma, unless Kuzma is included in a trade package for a superstar.
If Kuzma is moved, Morris could become an ideal fit for the Lakers in the starting lineup.
Los Angeles finished the 2018-19 season with a rough 37-45 record. They dealt with quite a few injuries to key players, including LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram. While it was a disappointing year, the process was always expected to take a couple years to get the Lakers back into contention.
Morris is going to be a free agent that quite a few teams have interest in. He is likely to land a deal in the $10-15 million range, which would be affordable for the Lakers.
One of the biggest issues L.A. had this year was the lack of players who could space the floor around James. Morris showed in Boston that he is more than capable of knocking down the three-point shot. He can also score from the post and mid-range, which is exactly the kind of player the Lakers need to find.
At 29 years of age, Morris is in the prime of his career. Los Angeles could offer him a three or four-year deal and feel very good that he is going to produce solid numbers for the duration of the contract.
Defensively, Morris is a capable player as well. L.A. struggled on the defensive end of the court at times and need to find hard-nosed players that get the job done. Morris would fit that description as well.
Fans want to see the Lakers form a “super-team” this offseason, but that isn’t likely to happen. Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard aren’t likely to team up with James. Davis would give the Lakers a “Big 2,” but that would be the best addition the Lakers can make.
It is possible the Lakers could acquire Davis and find another star to join them, but it would seem smarter to add good role players around their two stars. Morris isn’t a name that is going to pop off the box score, but he is the kind of glue guy that Pelinka and company have to find to fill out their roster.
All of that being said, the Lakers should view Morris as one of the top targets this offseason when free agency opens. If they aren’t able to acquire Davis, they should still go after Morris. He is an ideal fit with James and could help the Lakers get back to having a great “team” rather than just odds and ends around one of the best players in NBA history.
Expect to see the Lakers show interest in quite a few free agents this offseason. They have money to spend and the desire to build a contender as soon as possible. Morris won’t power the Lakers to an NBA Finals appearance, but he could be exactly what the doctor ordered for their bench group.