Marcus Morris, Isaiah Thomas Traded to Clippers; Moe Harkless, Picks to Knicks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 05:  Marcus Morris Sr. #13 of the New York Knicks celebrates his shot in the first half against the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden on December 05, 2019 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks traded power forward Marcus Morris to the Los Angeles Clippers, the team announced on Thursday. 

Morris was dealt in a three-team trade that sent him and Isaiah Thomas to the Clippers, Moe Harkless, a 2020 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick to the Knicks and Jerome Robinson to the Washington Wizards.

According to The Athletic's David Aldridge, the Clippers plan to waive Thomas. 

Morris, 30, has been one of the rare bright spots for the Knicks this season, averaging 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 43.9 percent from three. His ability to create his own shot and also space the floor as a stretch-4 made him an intriguing potential addition for contending teams on the market.

The Clippers ultimately pounced.

The Knicks were always likely to be sellers after starting the season 15-36, putting them on course for their seventh straight losing season. It's wise for them to dump their veterans on expiring contracts for draft assets, giving the young core of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina a chance to grow. 

In fact, one could argue the Knicks should have done that in the first place. Instead, they had a bizarre offseason after missing out on top-tier free agents, signing a misfit collection of veterans like Morris, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton.

The Knicks' decision to add four power forwards was particularly curious with Knox already on the roster. Barrett also had to play minutes at point guard—clearly out of position and out of his depth—with Payton sidelined by an injury. Morris turned out to be a bright spot, but his signing was another indication that New York didn't have a plan in place to best develop its young prospects. 

The Clippers, meanwhile, already had an excellent bench, highlighted by Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Morris gives them another option—either to start or come off the bench—capable of creating his own shot, and L.A. now arguably boasts the league's best depth.

He also gives L.A. a nice starting option when Kawhi Leonard sits for injury-management purposes. This deal is a classic "the rich get richer" addition, even if it came at a premium price.