During the NBA offseason, the Miami Heat signed Markieff Morris for one-year, $2.6 million. Morris, who had spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, is clearly excited to be a part of the Miami Heat. He implied to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel that he was not a fan of the culture in LA.
“I see myself as a guy that I can get back to my old self, just playing the game the right way, not having to look over my shoulder. I feel like we have nobody on the team like just, ‘give him the ball, and then everybody just watch and let them make the play.’ It’s a collective.”
Morris is careful not to mention LeBron James by name, but it's clearly who this jab is aimed at. It is curious that he doesn't mention James' name. It is interesting for a Morris, who with his brother allegedly assaulted a former mentor, and who once threw a towel at a coach after a disagreement during a season in which he kept demanding a trade, to criticize the culture of a team where he won a championship.
“We’re going to need everybody to score and rebound and defend every night. And that’s the best team to be on, when you don’t have to run to the corner every play and wait for a guy to make a play for you.”
It is difficult to understand these comments from Morris when James has made a hall of fame career out of being one of the best playmakers in NBA history. It is what James has done as well as anyone this side of Magic Johnson, and it certainly has a winning track record. Wanting to get more involved in games is understandable for Morris, to be sure, but taking passive-aggressive jabs at James seems un-necessary.
In the end, Morris did take a more diplomatic take, but in his words it can be extrapolated that his exit from the Lakers was not what he expected, and perhaps was a sore spot for Morris.
“It was super unexpected. For sure, I thought I was going back to the Lakers. But, sometimes I’m not in teams’ plans and that’s how it works sometimes.”
If Morris' exit from LA is not what he wanted, his reactions make a little more sense. For a man of Morris' life experience and maturity, you would think he would focus on his new role, instead of what is over.