While the Knicks failed to compile a roster of elite talent in the offseason, they did manage to acquire players that would entice contenders close to the trade deadline. Marcus Morris has emerged as a player that can potentially put a team with title aspirations over the hump.
After shunning the Spurs in the eleventh hour this summer, he’s been one of the Knicks’ most productive players. His versatility on defense and his ability to hit three-pointers make him a big target.
Just how much of a commodity is he? Well, his name has already surfaced in connection with the Lakers:
Lakers are revisiting this via a trade per reports https://t.co/iZ2U9cAJoJ
— Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson (@ScoopB) January 7, 2020
Morris is averaging career highs in points (19.1 PPG) and three-point percentage (46.9%) this season. In fact, his three-point percentage is second-best in the league, behind only George Hill (51.8%).
His leadership for the franchise has been just as impactful as his on-court production. Recent praise from Julius Randle proves he wants to continue playing with Morris:
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 7, 2020
The level of interest in Morris will be there, however, so let’s take a look at two teams in particular that could go after the swingman:
Dallas gets Marcus Morris.
New York gets Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and a 2020 second-round pick.
The Knicks are headed for the lottery for the fifth straight season, making it pointless to keep players that won’t be around for the foreseeable future. While Morris has been a bright spot, he is more valuable to a team trying to win a title in a short window.
Rebuilding teams just aren’t the right fit at this stage of his career. With the aforementioned trade, the Knicks get a little younger, while acquiring an additional pick in the upcoming draft they could keep or flip for another asset.
With Luka Doncic putting up historic numbers in just his second season, it’s safe to say the Mavericks’ window has moved up. He’s leading the team in minutes, points, rebounds and assists and has been part of the early MVP discussions. As Kristaps Porzingis continues to get into a rhythm, an experienced veteran like Morris could provide extra toughness and fearlessness to that locker room.
Miami gets Marcus Morris
New York gets Kelly Olynyk and Duncan Robinson
Robinson, a bright young player for the Heat, could provide a spark and some promise for the Knicks’ future. He’s averaging 11.8 points per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from three-point range and 95.7 percent from the free-throw line.
The Knicks are in the market for young players they can groom long term.
After the firing of David Fizdale, it seems like they’ll be starting over once again. What better way than to acquire young assets. For the Heat, they would acquire a player tough enough to play alongside Jimmy Butler. Throughout his days in Minnesota and Philadelphia, he’s notoriously spoken about outworking his teammates.
He needs a player who’s fearless and ready to dig deep on a nightly basis. Morris would be able to provide that assurance for him specifically during long playoff runs.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 6, 2020
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles gets Marcus Morris
New York gets Maurice Harkless and Rodney McGruder
Are we sensing a pattern here? Essentially the Knicks will look to get younger while their trade partner is in win-now mode. As deep as the Clippers’ current roster is, they could very well use a boost in the three-point department — something Morris undoubtedly provides.
With the league experiencing an influx of dynamic duos, the race to a championship is as wide open as it’s been in quite some time. While the Clippers are one of the favorites to win it all this season, there are no guarantees.
Don’t be shocked if the Clippers pull the trigger for Morris. Imagine trying to score on a lineup of Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, and Montrezl Harrell. Good luck!
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles gets Marcus Morris
New York gets Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Troy Daniels and Jared Dudley
The Lakers are currently on top of the West with a 30-7 record. They’ve wreaked havoc defensively and shown various instances of offensive brilliance. Not only do they want to improve, but they are hellbent on winning a championship as LeBron James’ career winds down. As with his potential contributions to the aforementioned teams, Morris would provide much needed outside shooting, along with grit and toughness.
The Knicks, on the other hand, get a career 39.7 percent three-point shooter in Daniels, and an improved KCP. With Dudley on the downside of his career, he would be a potential buyout candidate for the club.
Philadelphia gets Marcus Morris
New York gets Josh Richardson and James Ennis
Once preseason favorites to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, the Sixers have not played up to expectations thus far this season. They currently sit at the fifth playoff spot and seem to be missing an edge. Huge wins sometimes get coupled with questionable losses.
Morris can provide exactly what they seem to be missing in focus and killer instinct. It’s widely believed that they have the talent necessary to seriously contend for a title, however, their play hasn’t suggested such. A trade of this magnitude could shake things up and reinvigorate what should be a hungry team after a devastating second-round loss to the Raptors in the playoffs last postseason.
For the Knicks, Richardson would be the real win here. He’s led the Sixers in scoring six times this season and has the defensive prowess to help force turnovers. The Knicks have a long way to go, but compiling competitive young players isn’t a bad way to start.
For now, all we have is speculation. Until a deal gets done, Morris will continue to post career-best numbers. Expect many suitors to emerge for the forward.