Knicks Reportedly Trade Marcus Morris to the Clippers
Well, it looks like it finally happened.
After weeks of speculation, the Knicks have reportedly moved Marcus Morris to the Los Angeles Clippers, per The Athletic's Shams Chanaria:
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski came through with the details — this is now apparently a three-team trade, with both the Wizards and Knicks sending players to the Clippers.
The total package was up in the air for almost an hour after Chanaria initially reported the deal, perhaps while the Wizards angled their way into the deal. It had looked like the Knicks could have been receiving some combination of Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann, Moe Harkless and a first round pick in return for Morris.
Instead, Morris is headed to the Clippers, and just Harkless and the Clippers' 2020 first round pick to the Knicks. Harkless looked like just a salary filler to match up to Morris' $15 million salary initially, but now is the only new player coming the Knicks' way at the deadline. The first round pick, presumably set to be in the late 20s this June, is the centerpiece of the Knicks' deal for Morris.
After Steve Mills' firing on Tuesday, it was reported that he was the person holding up a potential Morris deal. Scott Perry has quickly remedied that as interim GM, shipping Morris off in time for the trade deadline.
Ultimately, this was a smart move for the Knicks, even if the return was less than what was being reported in the lead-up to the deal.
Morris is only on a one-year deal. While there was talk that there was mutual interest between Morris and the Knicks to work out a new deal this summer, nothing is guaranteed in the NBA. In addition, the Knicks will be in a unique position where, even after trading him away, they can still approach Morris this summer and offer him a new deal. The only thing that would preclude them from doing so is if the Clippers would inexplicably waive Morris; otherwise, the Knicks are in the clear to pursue him again if both sides want to come to a new deal.
Update (3:21 p.m.): According to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, the Knicks also came away with Detroit's 2023 second round pick:
Update (3:41 p.m.): SNY's Ian Begley reports that the Knicks also received a pick swap with the Clippers in 2021 (unlikely to be cashed in, but nonetheless) and the draft rights to Ukranian guard Issuf Sanon. Begley also reports that the Knicks received the Pistons' 2021 pick, not 2023 as originally reported by Zillgitt:
So the complete haul for Morris appears to be Harkless, the Clippers' 2020 first round pick, a right to swap picks with the Clippers in 2021, Sanon's draft rights and either Detroit's 2021 or 2023 second round pick, both of which are owned by the Clippers.