Markieff Morris Is Ready To Do Whatever The Lakers Need
Markieff Morris spoke for the first time at Lakers' shootaround Tuesday since he officially signed with the team on Sunday.
Morris will be active for Tuesday's game against New Orleans, but Lakers' coach Frank Vogel isn't yet sure whether he'll play.
"I’m gonna play it by ear," Vogel said. "He probably won’t play a lot. I may or may not get his feet wet. He will be active. I’ll just feel the game out in terms of whether he’ll get in there or not."
Morris didn't hesitate when asked why he ultimately decided to play for the Lakers.
"I’m just at the point in my career where I’m just trying to win," Morris said. "I see this team has one goal in mind, and who wouldn’t want to play for the Lakers?"
The Detroit Pistons reached a buyout agreement with Morris on Friday, and the Lakers officially signed him Sunday with the $1.75 million disabled player exception that they received for DeMarcus Cousins earlier this season, according to ESPN. Morris cleared waivers Sunday, and the Lakers waived Cousins to open up a roster spot.
Morris, who is 6-foot-10, could help spread the floor for the Lakers, who are atop the Western Conference with a record of 43-12.
"He brings us a lot of toughness, a lot of experience," LeBron James said. "He knows what he’s about on the basketball floor and off the floor. A guy that can help us right away."
Through 44 games with the Pistons this season, Morris averaged 11 points on 45 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 22.5 minutes.
Morris sees himself being able to fit in with the Lakers wherever he's needed, providing them with some extra depth.
“I feel like I can bring everything," Morris said. "We have a lot of guys, a lot of versatility. I can just be one of those guys that used in the mix, playing 4 or 5 if we play smaller. [Kyle Kuzma] can play his natural position at the three a little bit more, just giving us more lineups that we can use.”
Morris has played for four teams over his nine seasons in the league, including Phoenix, Washington, Oklahoma City and Detroit.
He acknowledged that it's tough to join the Lakers with only 27 games remaining in the regular season, but Morris pointed out that he's used to fitting in with different teams.
"I’m just trying to be the ‘X-factor’ that’s needed," Morris said. "Whatever is needed out of me, I want to come in and provide. That’s just where it’s at. However they use me is how they use me.”
Morris' first act as a Laker was to attend the memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on Monday.
"It was very touching, man," Morris said. "I grew up — obviously I’m from Philly, where Kobe is from, so we grew up idolizing Kobe. He meant everything to us. I was just excited to be a part of that, to be able to see a bunch of people talk about him and see his last farewell."
Morris' twin brother, Marcus, plays for the Clippers, who are in third place in the Western Conference with a record of 38-19. Morris said he might live with his brother and is definitely looking forward to spending more time with him.
He's also hoping to see his brother deep in the playoffs, perhaps even in the Western Conference Finals.
“That would be crazy, man," Morris said. "Both of us want the same thing, so I know it’s going to be super competitive."