FEBRUARY 20: The signing is official, the Thunder announced on their website. Morris will make $573,295 over the next four months and will have a $427,288 cap hit, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. Between Morris’ salary and luxury tax penalties, the total cost to OKC will be $2.2MM.
FEBRUARY 14: The Thunder have reached a contract agreement with free agent forward Markieff Morris, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Even after signing Richard Solomon and Scotty Hopson to 10-day deals today, Oklahoma City has an open roster spot, so no corresponding move will be required.
Morris, 29, spent most of the season with the Wizards, averaging 11.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG on .436/.333/.781 shooting in 34 games (26.0 MPG). However, conscious of their proximity to the luxury tax threshold, the Wizards opted to trade him at last week’s deadline, saving some money by sending him to New Orleans along with a future second-round pick for Wesley Johnson.
After being subsequently waived by the Pelicans, Morris – who had been recovering from a neck injury – was cleared to resume full basketball activities and reportedly drew interest from the Rockets, Raptors, and Lakers in addition to the Thunder. The Nets were among the other clubs in the mix for him, tweets Charania.
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Morris represents an intriguing addition for the Thunder, who had been on the lookout for a stretch four due to Patrick Patterson‘s inconsistent play. While Morris wasn’t exactly having a career year in Washington, he’ll be an upgrade on Patterson, assuming he’s healthy. He should also help replace the shooting previously provided by Alex Abrines, who parted ways with Oklahoma City last week.
It’s not clear whether or not the Thunder will sign Morris right away. Postponing the transaction until after the All-Star break would create some savings on OKC’s cap and projected tax bill, so if Morris is on board with it, the club may wait.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.