NBA Rumors: Lakers, Clippers Battling to Sign Markieff Morris to Contract

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris, left, blocks a shot by Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo during the first half in Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers are reportedly both attempting to sign free-agent forward Markieff Morris in free agency.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Morris has drawn interest from both Los Angeles contenders, though it's unclear if either team has an advantage.

Morris chose to sign with the Lakers in February after being bought out by the Detroit Pistons. However, after brother Marcus Morris Sr. signed a four-year contract with the Clippers last week, it's possible he crosses hallways. 

The Lakers have been the winners of whatever head-to-head battle exists between the two teams. Montrezl Harrell chose to leave the Clippers for the Lakers, and Marc Gasol signed with the Lakers after drawing interest from the Clippers and several other teams.

The Clippers bounced back from their Harrell setback by signing Serge Ibaka, who is arguably a better player and better fit. Their desire to add Morris does not appear to be founded in any obvious roster need, with the Clippers' most pressing issue being a ball-handler to handle second-team duties.

The Lakers could use Morris' ruggedness on the defensive end after sacrificing some defensive presence by allowing Dwight Howard to walk and trading Danny Green. Gasol and Wesley Matthews, their nominal replacements, are worse defenders at this point of their respective careers. The Lakers do project as a stronger scoring team with Harrell and Dennis Schroder in place to lead the second unit.

By signing with the Lakers or Clippers, Morris is also almost certainly consigning himself to a veteran's minimum contract. Neither team has much in the way of space under the hard cap, which they each triggered by using their non-taxpayer mid-level exception. 

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