Markieff Morris Confirms New Lakers Contract in Free Agency: 'Run It Back'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 8: Markieff Morris #88 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during a game against the LA Clippers at the Staples Center on March 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. 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. Mandatory Credit: 2020 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

Veteran forward Markieff Morris confirmed he has agreed to a new contract with the Los Angeles Lakers via Twitter on Monday:    

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the contract is for the veteran minimum. 

Morris signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Pistons heading into the 2019-20 season. As the Pistons fell out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, Detroit bought him out of his contract in February.

That allowed the 31-year-old to join a contender, and he signed on with the Lakers for the remainder of the season. Coincidentally, his brother, Marcus, was traded from the New York Knicks to the Los Angeles Clippers ahead of the Feb. 6 deadline.

Between his time in Detroit and L.A., Morris averaged 9.7 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers are far more representative of how he performed with the Pistons, as he made only 14 appearances with the Lakers, mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic cutting the season short.

Morris is unlikely to be a big difference-maker in Los Angeles' frontcourt, even with the benefit of a full season in purple and gold.

His offensive game has become far more specialized in recent seasons. According to Basketball Reference, 30.1 percent of his shots in 2017-18 were three-pointers. At the time, it was a career high, and the figure subsequently jumped to 41.9 percent in 2018-19 and 49.8 percent in 2019-20.

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Morris isn't automatic from deep, but he's good enough to keep opposing defenses honest. He's a career 34.5 percent shooter from three-point range, and he hit 40.1 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes this past season, per NBA.com.

At 6'8" and 245 pounds, Morris doesn't have the traditional frame to line up at center, yet he's perfect for the role when teams want to go small. Beyond his ability to space the floor, he's averaging 10.4 rebounds per 100 possessions through his first nine seasons, so he can hold his own on the glass.

Teams with playoff aspirations can never have too much depth, both to get through the slog of the regular season and provide a different dimension in the postseason.

Morris should continue to provide the Lakers with value off the bench.