After making a controversial jump from the San Antonio Spurs to the New York Knicks, Marcus Morris cleared the air on what happened.
Just when the New York Knicks offseason simmered, it stirred back up, with Marcus Morris signing a one-year, $15 million contract to fill their 15th and final roster spot. There was interest in him earlier this summer, but the veteran forward had verbally agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs.
Officially a Knick, Morris cleared the air with The Athletic’s Shams Charania on what actually happened behind the scenes with Paul and why he flipped his free-agent decision:
"“All this stuff that (Paul) didn’t want me to go to the Clippers and didn’t want me to go against LeBron (James), that’s not true,” Morris said. “He never told me not to take the deal. For as long as I’ve known Rich — and that’s still someone I have love for and that’s still my guy — he has been great in terms of advice. He told me he wanted me to take the Clippers deal. He gave me his advice.“It was my decision and I had to make the best decision for me and my family.”"
Charania added that once his Clippers offer was off the table, Morris felt “on the clock” with San Antonio’s offer, but also wanted “more of a process” in free agency.
That will clear up the speculation of Morris being geared away from the Clippers with, as he noted, LeBron James on the Lakers. Davis also joined him via trade in June.
However, it will not change anything for the Spurs. They traded David Bertans to the Washington Wizards and re-worked DeMarre Carroll‘s contract to contribute to accommodating Morris’ salary, all, of course, did not matter when Morris changed his mind.
This made the Spurs, as expected, unhappy with how everything transpired, although the Knicks already had issues from two years ago, as SNY’s Ian Begley reported. New York felt San Antonio “operated outside of accepted NBA norms at times” when Kristaps Porzingis was still with the organization, “crossed lines of accepted behavior.”
That apparent bad blood, coupled with their 1999 NBA Finals matchup, has this as the odd feud of the summer. The Knicks and Spurs are not on-court competitors besides their two regular-season games per year, but it will be interesting to see if it sparks any words when their eventual matchup arises in the upcoming NBA season.
Given what Morris also said to Charania on his relationship with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, though, at least one part of this was put to rest:
"“Pop and I had a long conversation about everything, not just basketball,” Morris told The Athletic. “I have a lot of love for that organization and the opportunity they were giving me to put on a Spurs jersey. That was part of my process. He was the only coach I spoke to besides coach Fiz.“Playing close to home, being from Philly, I get to see my family a lot.”"
It was a family decision for Morris, as New York City and Philadelphia are only a car ride away from each other.
Morris’ decision stirred the NBA offseason just as it started to quiet down. For the New York Knicks, it closed their free-agent additions of guaranteed contracts and pushes them ahead for the season.