The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be very different next season. Of the nine players from their championship-winning squad who entered unrestricted free agency on Wednesday, three of them signed contracts with other teams: Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. So far, the only player they have re-signed is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
That should change when the Lakers close a contract with Anthony Davis, but there is at least one other player who could return next season: Markieff Morris. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Morris would like to stay in Los Angeles:
Free agent forward Markieff Morris is interested in re-signing with the Lakers, which would give them another versatile player.
The Lakers would also like Morris to return, according to Turner’s report earlier this month, but they won’t be able to get into a bidding war for him.
Once the Lakers sign Davis and Caldwell-Pope to their respective deals, they are expected to be just $ 6.9 million below the tax apron; something they can’t get past because they capped themselves using their exceptions on Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews. This means they will barely have enough money to fill their list of veterans minimum contracts.
So if Morris is to re-sign with the Lakers for more than the veteran’s minimum, the Lakers should likely find a taker for JaVale McGee, who is expected to earn $ 4.2 million next season. This would allow them to give Morris 120% of his minimum wage using his non-bird rights and fill the rest of the list with veterans’ minimum contracts.
However, the $ 2.8 million the Lakers would be able to offer Morris would still be no more than the bi-annual exception of $ 3.6, which many suitors still have. If it’s a check Morris is looking for, Los Angeles might not be the place for him – or should I say, the Lakers might not be the team for him.
The Clippers can offer Markieff the bi-annual exception if they give up Joakim Noah and Justin Patton, and his twin brother Marcus has just signed with the Clippers again. It’s safe to assume that he would consider this option if it became available.
That being said, it’s an encouraging sign that the Lakers and Morris appear to have a mutual interest in making a deal. As long as Morris is ready to work within the tight parameters of the Lakers, he will have a place in Los Angeles, especially after how much he helped them secure their recent championship.
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