It was revealed last week that Morris was not with the team and the Lakers dubbed it an “excused absence.” Nothing further was provided on why Morris was not yet in the bubble. The Lakers were intentionally vague on the topic, citing privacy concerns.
“You know, we’re trying not to comment too much on individual players’ performances right now,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re still waiting to manage this time where we’re respecting players’ privacies. So, I’m going to refrain from commenting on that.”
Lakers beat reporter Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times provided an update on Morris Monday afternoon.
Morris’ twin brother, Marcus, plays for the Clippers and has been missing from action as well.
“I don’t check,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said in a vague update. “Because they’re in quarantine and stuff, you don’t ever know.”
For what it’s worth, the Lakers said that Markieff Morris is expected to play in the bubble at some point. He was on the official roster released for the bubble restart on Monday.
However, he’ll still have to go through the quarantine protocols before he can suit up with the team and hopefully he shows up in shape. The Lakers will have the scrimmages and eight “seeding games” before the playoffs begin. With a 49-14 record and a 5.5 game lead on the Clippers, it’s very likely the Lakers can coast in the seeding games and still retain the top spot in the Western Conference.
Markieff Morris Expected to Play Key Bench Role
Reporters are out of their week-long quarantine inside of the bubble, so it’s easier to gain insight on what exactly is going on with teams. Previously, the Lakers were being very selective on what they shared, and the astute supporter of the purple and gold could notice Morris was not present in the shots released.
Morris signed with the Lakers shortly before the season was put on hold. He played in eight games, averaging 14.8 minutes, 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. Morris started his season in Detroit, where he appeared in 44 games with 16 starts. He averaged 11 points and 3.9 rebounds with the Pistons before agreeing to a buyout.
Unlike Rajon Rondo, who cannot be replaced due to injury during a practice inside the bubble, the Lakers could be granted a replacement player if Morris has chosen to stay home for personal reasons or has contracted COVID-19. However, time is running out, with the Lakers set to debut in the bubble on July 30.
Markieff Morris Wants to be X-Factor for Lakers
After receiving a buyout in Detroit, Morris quickly set his sights west and signed with the Lakers — the fifth team of his career.
“Me, personally, I’m just trying to be the X-Factor that we need,” Morris said shortly after signing. “Whatever’s 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.”
That, in turn, gave the Lakers some more flexibility with their rotation, especially with the likes of Kyle Kuzma, who’s expected to have a bigger role for the restart.
“In the modern NBA, you really — in my opinion — you have a point guard, a center and you have wings, and he just adds to our depth at that position,” Vogel said. “All of our wings have slightly different skillsets with defensive matchups, offensive skillsets of what they’re able to do, and he just rounds us out a little bit more and adds that type of depth that could help us down the stretch and in some of these playoff series that we’re hoping to be in.”