The Clippers are acquiring Marcus Morris from the Knicks in a three-team trade also involving the Wizards, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowkski. The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported Morris would be headed to the Clips. The Knicks will acquire Moe Harkless and L.A.’s 2020 first-round pick as part of the deal. The Wizards will send Isaiah Thomas to the Clippers and receive second-year guard Jerome Robinson. Morris has appeared in 43 games for New York this season, averaging a career-best 19.6 points per game. Harkless has started 38 of his 50 appearances for the Clips, playing 22.8 minutes per night. Morris signed with the Knicks before the season and will be a free agent this summer. Let’s grade the trade for each side.
This is a no-brainer for the Clips. Morris is a more skilled offensive player than Harkless, and he’s quite capable defensively. A foursome of Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Morris should be able to match up with pretty much any team in the league. Meanwhile, Morris is a career 36.9% three-point shooter, and he has more gravity than either the departed Harkless or JaMychal Green. As an added bonus, acquiring Morris also keeps him away from the Lakers, who absolutely could have used his services. The Clips are sacrificing very little in this move that’s a clear upgrade for an already-deep team. Trades don’t get much more successful than that. Thomas was also a nice throw-in, but won't remain on the team, reports David Aldridge. His defense is suspect, and Lou Williams is already enough of a gunner off the bench.
Morris was a coveted asset, but not enough for the Knicks to snag a young player of consequence from any of the teams interested. They pick up the Clips’ 2020 first-rounder for Morris, which isn’t awful. Morris was always going to be a rental—he had no long-term future in New York. If the plan was to always trade the short-term vets signed last summer for picks, then this trade satisfies that plan for the Knicks. Again, James Dolan & Co. are easy to dunk on, but it wouldn’t have been worth keeping Morris on the team if Landry Shamet or Kyle Kuzma truly were not available. It’s better to get a small something than nothing, and that’s what the Knicks did here. If this really was their best offer, then so be it.
Washington traded an aging guard in Thomas for a second-year player in Robinson who could potentially thrive or find a more suitable role for himself in a new situation. There wasn't any reason for the Wizards to not make this trade.