Knicks Trade Rumors: Marcus Morris Made Available After Steve Mills Firing

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2020

New York Knicks' Marcus Morris Sr. reacts during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Indianapolis. New York won 92-85. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The New York Knicks have reportedly changed course on their plan for Marcus Morris, making the forward available ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the shift came after the Knicks fired president of basketball operations Steve Mills on Tuesday. To this point, the Knicks and Morris maintained an interest in extending their relationship beyond his one-year, $15 million contract.

"I love our team," Morris told The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov. "I love our future. I just want to be a part of helping our young guys grow and grow out to be the great players they're gonna be.

"That was the reason why I made the decision to come here, going back on the decisions I made, along with a lot of other things, but I'm here. I enjoy this organization. I enjoy the players they got here and I want to be here long-term."

The Knicks won't lack in suitors for Morris, who should be able to bring back a first-round pick from a contender.

New York's decision to fire Mills, long believed to be on the hot seat, was not a surprise. The franchise already fired coach David Fizdale earlier this season and seemed destined for a retooling of its basketball operations.

The timing of Mills' departure, just two days before deadline, raised eyebrows. Wojnarowski reported Mills was working the phones on the Knicks' behalf in trade talks as recently as Monday. Even if Knicks ownership didn't trust Mills to handle the deadline, it's fair to question why they did not move on months ago.

Morris is in the mist of a career-best season, averaging 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds while knocking down a career-high 43.9 percent of his threes. Several contenders could use his combination of toughness on the perimeter and ability to stretch the floor. Morris has the body to play either forward spot on both ends of the floor.

Even if the Knicks want to bring Morris back, it makes too much sense to trade him now. They're going to have enough cap space to sign him in July, and whichever team trades for him won't have full Bird rights. Recouping some value now is the pertinent move for a franchise in the midst of a full-scale rebuild.


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