Lakers a ‘Frontrunner’ to Sign Ex-Pistons Forward Markieff Morris: Report

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

The Los Angeles Lakers may have missed out on their chance to add Marcus Morris, but they could have a shot at his twin brother. Markieff Morris has spent this year with the Detroit Pistons, but it looks like the pairing will be coming to an end. According to Shams Charania, Detroit and Morris have agreed on a contract buyout.

Once the deal is finalized, it looks like the Lakers are the favorites to sign Morris, per Charania.

The Toronto Raptors could pose a problem as they are a solid team, but Morris could want to be near his brother who is currently employed by the Los Angeles Clippers. Another Morris in Los Angeles would only add to the Lakers-Clippers rivalry.

Morris Could Bring Much-Needed Defensive Help

The Lakers had rumored interest in Markieff Morris at the trade deadline, but it was clear they were more interested in trading for Marcus. He’s had a more impressive career than Markieff and is probably the better player. However, Markieff is no slouch and could help in a playoff matchup versus the Clippers. Bill Oram of The Athletic recently detailed what the Lakers need to beat the Clippers and one big thing was defense:

“They need someone who can defend Kawhi Leonard and/or Paul George in a playoff series. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has struggled against Leonard and doesn’t have the size to take on George. This is where the Lakers’ inability to land Marcus Morris or Andre Iguodala really hurts them.”

Markieff Morris isn’t Andre Iguodala, but he’s a big, athletic body the team can throw at Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. The Lakers are going to need to stop those two if they plan on beating the Clippers. He’s not the strongest defender in the NBA, but his size will certainly be an asset. He’s also usually good for at least 10 points off the bench and that could only help the Lakers.

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Ball Handling Help on the Way?

Even if the Lakers end up signing Morris, that still doesn’t fill their most pressing need. The team still needs someone who can run the offense while LeBron James is off the court. With Darren Collison deciding to stay retired and Reggie Jackson heading to the Clippers, their options are getting more and more limited. At this point, it’s unlikely that they find a legit difference-maker on the open market.

That could lead the Lakers turning their attention to adding a scorer. J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters can both be prolific scorers at times and the team is rumored to be interested in both. They wouldn’t fill the ball-handling slot the Lakers have open, but they are playmakers who could put up points while LeBron and Anthony Davis are on the bench. Smith reportedly was supposed to have a workout with the Lakers and LeBron posted some interesting stuff about him on Instagram, so that could mean a move is in the works.

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