Markieff Morris has officially joined his fourth club in two years, having jumped through several legal hoops to sign on with the LA Lakers. Morris had been starring for the Detroit Pistons and was in some of the best form of his career, scoring with 39.7% of his attempts from the three-point line and averaging 11.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
The Pistons agreed a contract buyout deal with the Lakers, and Morris has signed a contract worth $1.75m through the Lakers’ disabled player exception. With all the necessary waivers now signed, the 6’10” athlete is set to become the Lakers’ back-up power forward and will be hoping to make decisive impacts from the bench in attack, as well as providing defensive cover.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) February 24, 2020
With due respect to Morris’s ability in its own right, he will also benefit the Lakers by being able to take some of the burden from LeBron James, by providing alternative attacking options when on the court. This could be crucial for ensuring that James can remain fresh throughout the post-season, which is surely pivotal for the Lakers’ hopes of winning silverware this year.
The Lakers had also been hoping to sign Markieff’s brother, Marcus Morris. However, Marcus ended up signing for their city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. That adds an intriguing sub-plot of fraternal rivalry to the inevitable showdown between the Lakers and the Clippers for major honours this year.
The Lakers and the Clippers are currently priced as favourites by NBA betting tables to win the NBA championship outright, with the Lakers at +290.00, and the Clippers at +333.00. That places the duo only marginally behind the MIL Bucks, at +240.00, in the current odds tables. For the Western Conference title, the Laker and Clippers, at +162.00 and +240.00 respectively, are the clear favourites, followed by the Houston Rockets down at +600.00. It is surely only a matter of time before we see the brothers facing off in a high-stakes battle for silverware.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 18, 2020
But the good news for Markieff Morris spells bad news for DeMarcus Cousins. The four-time former all-star is currently out with an injury but had been hoping to return shortly and play out the remainder of the season with the Lakers. However, those plans now lie disbanded, as the Lakers chose to cut Cousins from their 15-man squad of standard players for the remaining season.
‘Boogie’ sustained an anterior cruciate ligament tear during a preseason workout in August, leaving him facing months of rest, medical work, and rehabilitation. Cousins hasn’t made it onto the court for the Lakers so far this season, and now it looks like he won’t play again until next year. Where he might play next year is unclear. He could re-sign with the Lakers, though he is able to consider other offers.
This is just the latest in a sequence of serious injuries for the 29-year-old centre. The player suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans in January 2018 and a torn quadricep with the Golden State Warriors in April 2019. Who knows what the future holds for the stability of his career.