Report: Former Thunder Forward Markieff Morris Signs Contract with Pistons

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2019

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Markieff Morris (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons reportedly reached an agreement with veteran power forward Markieff Morris on Wednesday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

As Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights noted, "Detroit doesn't have a ton of flexibility left, but this may well be the minimum after [Morris] had a tough injury-riddled year last year."

It's just the latest move for the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft.

The Kansas product is coming off a season in which he changed teams multiple times. He started the 2018-19 campaign with the Washington Wizards and got traded to the New Orleans Pelicans prior to the trade deadline in February.

After being immediately bought out by the Pelicans, he signed a deal to finish out the season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The 29-year-old averaged 9.4 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game in 58 games between the Wizards and Thunder. The 6'10", 245-pound big man missed more than a month while in Washington after being diagnosed with transient cervical neurapraxia in January. 

Cliff Brunt @CliffBruntAP

Asked Presti if he got what he expected out of Markieff Morris. #Thunder #OKC https://t.co/NZWqcVdeth

Despite his injury, there had been no shortage of interest in Morris around the league following his buyout.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors were among the teams interested. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times added the Los Angeles Lakers were also in the mix.

Morris ultimately decided to sign with OKC, where he averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game in 24 regular-season appearances. He managed just 11.8 minutes per game during a first-round loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and averaged 3.8 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs.

That limited role didn't sit well with his twin brother, Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris.

"I just wish he never went there because I know he could have helped another team get somewhere just by the effect he has on the court," Marcus told The Athletic's Jay King in April of Markieff's time with the Thunder.

Markieff echoed similar sentiments during his end-of-season press conference, saying he "probably won't be back" if his playing time didn't increase, via The Oklahoman (around the 3:54 mark):

He added that he "like[d]" it in OKC and that the organization was "A1." But ultimately, he feels as though he can bring more to a team that his role with the Thunder allowed him to.

In regards to his free agency, he told reporters during that presser that his family was his top priority in free agency, as "basketball is gonna take care of itself."

Now, the Philadelphia native will have the opportunity for a fresh start in Detroit, where he'll serve as depth at the 4 behind Blake Griffin.


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