Marcus Morris might grab all the headlines, but it appears that the teams fighting for an NBA Championship have their sites set on his twin brother, Detroit Pistons power forward Markieff Morris.
Among the teams expressing interest in Morris are the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
At 6-foot-10, Morris is a power forward that you can get away with as a small ball center and provides range out to the 3-point line and quality defense.
Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 17.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists and is sporting a healthy 57.2 true shooting percentage. The rebounding numbers are light, but he’s obviously a player teams are looking as an easy plug in to an already solid rotation.
The Rockets, Celtics and Clippers have reportedly been on the hunt for big men throughout the free agency period while the Sixers, Lakers and Bucks never met a big man with 3-point range they didn’t like.
Another thing attracting these teams to Morris is his light price tag. He was a steal this offseason on just a $3.2 million deal. That means he is easy to trade and wouldn’t force these contending teams to add multiple players just to get salaries to match.
Even better, though, is that Morris has a player option for $3.3 million next season. With his quality play this season, it seems as if he might opt out and finally cash in a big payday just as Marcus Morris did this past offseason on a one-year $15 million deal with the Knicks.
But it’s a funny thing about contending teams. Players like playing for them, and often times are willing to take less money to stick around. While it’s no guarantee, that element of cost control, provided you can get Morris to buy in, is likely driving interest, and Morris’ price up.
As far as an expected return, even with all these contending teams interested, it’d likely be something similar to last season’s Reggie Bullock deal at best. That deal saw Detroit grab a future second-round pick and a recent second-rounder, Svi Mykhailiuk, who has blossomed in his sophomore year this season in Detroit.
If Morris isn’t quite as valuable as Bullock was, who was a starter, after all, Detroit should still be able to secure a second-rounder in the 31-45 range.