Knicks Trade Rumors: Teams Believe Marcus Morris Could Return 1st-Round Pick

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

New York Knicks' Marcus Morris Sr. (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The New York Knicks will inevitably be sellers before February 6's trade deadline, already 4-20 and on to their second head coach after the firing of David Fizdale. 

One player who could bring back a solid haul for the Knicks is veteran forward Marcus Morris. According to Ian Begley of SNY, three teams believe Morris "could return a first-round pick" in a trade.

"Teams love his leadership, and he's been shooting incredibly well," one representative of an Eastern Conference franchise told Begley. "You can easily see them getting a late first-round pick for him if that team feels Marcus pushes them over the top."

Morris, 30, is having a solid season for the floundering Knicks, averaging 18.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and an impressive 48.4 percent from three. For contending teams looking for a scoring boost from the forward position, Morris would fit the bill, either as a starter or off the bench.

But he's also grown comfortable in a leadership role, as Begley wrote:

"Former head coach David Fizdale was effusive in his praise of Morris' leadership. He used to text Fizdale nightly asking how he could help the team the next day. Morris is well-liked in the Knick locker room and called a players'-only meeting before practice Friday—hours before Fizdale was fired—to talk about holding each other accountable and sharing the ball."

Morris was also a leader for the Boston Celtics last season amid that team's disappointing year. 

Those factors, along with his on-court presence, make him an appealing option. But there are limiting factors.

For one, a first-round pick—if that is the eventual price—is a substantial investment for a potential half-year rental. And for some teams, finding the salary to match Morris' $15 million contract could be tricky. 

For the Knicks, meanwhile, moving on from veterans like Morris who aren't in the team's long-term plans will open bigger roles for young players such as RJ Barrett and more minutes for other potential core pieces such as Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina. 

So a Morris trade before February's deadline feels inevitable, even if the return is uncertain.