New York Knicks: Gregg Popovich was ‘blindsided’ by Marcus Morris saga

Marcus Morris reneging his contract with the San Antonio Spurs for the New York Knicks became a topic at Media Day.

Perhaps the offseason’s most unusual situation, the New York Knicks signed Marcus Morris to a one-year, $15 million contract, after he seemingly agreed to join the San Antonio Spurs. One of the most successful franchises of the 2000s, the Spurs traded Davis Bertans to clear the necessary space to sign Morris.

At Monday’s Media Day, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich addressed the situation, per Jabari Young of The Athletic. He did not seem happy with how it played out, as alluded to in previous reports, and said some of it was “handled unprofessionally on a couple of different levels” (h/t HoopsRumors for transcription):

“It was more than difficult to lose Davis,” Popovich said. “Let’s just say that that was an unfortunate situation that was handled unprofessionally on a couple of different levels. We made that move (trading Bertans) to make the signing that we did, and we got blindsided. Davis was a special player, as we all know. He was young and getting better and better, so we hated losing him.”

The Spurs sent Bertans, who still had one year remaining on his contract, to the Washington Wizards and acquired DeMarre Carroll in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets as part of this three-team deal. They signed Trey Lyles once the signing fell apart.

Per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, at New York’s Media Day, Morris briefly addressed what happened, said there were “unknown” issues and wanted to be closer to Philadelphia, which San Antonio is not near. Morris also parted ways with agent Rich Paul around the time of this situation.

Coincidentally, the Knicks and Spurs will face off on opening night, in San Antonio, so these teams have the chance to play each other early. Morris might not have animosity towards the Spurs, but the Silver and Black have something leftover from this early July incident, and the AT&T Center fans that jeered at Kawhi Leonard during his return earlier this year might offer a similar treatment.

Whatever happened, the Spurs claim they were blindsided, and Morris appeared to move on. It cannot be unchanged now, as the former Boston Celtic prepares to suit up with the Knicks in their first preseason game on Oct. 7.

Morris projects to take significant minutes in the New York Knicks’ frontcourt, potentially taking time from Kevin Knox, who started most of the 2018-19 season at one of the forward spots. The 30-year-old veteran most recently started 53 of 79 games with Boston, averaging 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds on 44.7 percent shooting and 37.5 percent on three-pointers.