Veteran forward Marcus Morris Sr. is “leaning toward signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves,” according to his former Philadelphia 76ers teammate Patrick Beverley. Pat Bev dropped the news on Twitter late on Sunday night into Monday morning.
Seasoned Forward & Offensive Threat Marcus Morris is leaning towards signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves- Per sources— Pat Bev Pod (@PatBevPod) February 12, 2024
His veteran presence will provide a winning culture to any team looking for a playoff boost. pic.twitter.com/DQIBIsgLoi
Morris, who was recently traded from the Sixers through the Indiana Pacers in a three-way deal to the San Antonio Spurs, is presumably in the process of negotiating a buyout with the Spurs. Once he is waived, he would need to clear waivers before signing with the Wolves.
A note on Marcus Morris Sr. -- he hasn't been waived yet by the Spurs, and couldn't sign w/ Minnesota until he clears waivers (48 hours after he's waived).— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) February 12, 2024
Very unlikely we'd see him until after the ASB. The Wolves have their first 7 games post-ASB at home.
Beverley — who broke the news of his own trade to the Milwaukee Bucks — very well may have behind-the-scenes insight into Morris’s favored destination. Beverley and Morris have been teammates across four seasons and three NBA franchises (Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers).
The 13-year NBA veteran would bring a physical and rugged presence to match a 6-foot-8, 220-pound frame with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. His reputation as a respected locker room voice and on-court leader would bolster a locker room that has had run-ins with immaturity in recent years. The benefits of adding the 34-year-old continue onto the hardwood, as the versatile forward could inject much-needed spacing into an offense that has struggled in that department.
As a career 37.7% shooter from deep, Morris is a capable and willing shooter that should add needed volume to a team that ranks second in 3-point percentage (39.4%), but just 24th in attempts (32.0 per game) and 15th in makes (12.6 per game). Even better, he is outstanding on the catch-and-shoot, where he is hitting 43.1% of his looks off the catch on 1.9 attempts a game this year. Morris is most comfortable shooting on the right side of the court, where he shot 39.9% from the right wing and 39.4% from the corner in his career.
Marcus Morris Catch-and-Shoot 3P%, last 5 seasons (C&S 3PA/36 MP)— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) February 12, 2024
2023-24: 43.1% (4.1)
2022-23: 36.6% (5.1)
2021-22: 37.6% (4.8)
2020-21: 49.8% (6.1)
2019-20: 42.5% (4.1)
Total: 41.9% (425/1015) pic.twitter.com/lrBiCYs8st
Inside the perimeter, Morris is a capable isolation player and can create his shot from the mid-range. This part of his game can sometimes be a double-edged sword, as Morris can sometimes call his number without regard to who else is on the court. A trait that can be a boon when a team’s offensive stars are having an off night, but it can also come at the cost of ball movement.
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While Morris’s defense may not be anything to write home about, he is, however, a solid rebounder and his willingness to crash the glass and put a body on an opponent fits seamlessly into the Timberwolves’ big identity they are trying to create. He is also a capable defender on post-ups and could serve as another strong body Wolves Head Coach Chris Finch can deploy in hopes of slowing down more physical players.
Morris is still officially a Spur and is expected to be bought out before March 1, the deadline for players to be bought out and remain eligible to suit up in the postseason for another team. Minnesota currently has $3.4 million of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception (NTP MLE) left and is $1.56 million below the luxury tax line. While President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly is going to pursue every option to improve the team, he likely will try to remain under the tax line to do so.
The Wolves could tap into this reservoir to offer Morris more money than other contending teams and solidify his signature. Our Jack Borman explained the cap minutiae that goes into the buyout market on Friday. Given that Morris Sr. makes more this season ($17,116,279) than the NTP MLE ($12,405,000), he is unable to sign with a team over the first luxury tax apron ($7 million over the tax line) after completing a buyout. Those teams include GSW, LAC, PHX BOS, MIL, DEN and MIA. Potential playoff teams he could sign with include LAL, MIN, OKC, CLE, NYK, NOP and DAL. But Morris cannot re-sign with Philly for a year, and OKC and LAL have made their roster-filling moves to this point, so Minnesota is certainly a desirable destination of the group leftover.
Marcus Morris Sr. would bring grit, 67 games of playoff experience, and much-needed shooting to the Timberwolves as a backup for Jaden McDaniels and alternative option to Kyle Anderson on nights Minnesota needs more spacing.