NBA Rumors: Here’s Why Marcus Morris Reportedly Backed Out Of Spurs Deal And Signed With Knicks Instead

Marcus Morris of the Boston Celtics celebrates during Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers in 2019.
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Earlier this month, former Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris agreed to sign with the San Antonio Spurs as a free agent, reportedly accepting a deal that would have paid him $20 million over two years. Ultimately, he ended up backing out of the offer less than a week later, opting to join the New York Knicks on a one-year, $15 million contract. Reports at that time did not offer much insight into why Morris turned down the Spurs after initially agreeing to terms, but a new report suggests that he may have changed his mind due to a case of miscommunication.

In a report published on Sunday, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (via NESN) wrote that Morris chose to sign with the Knicks on July 11 — just five days after he and San Antonio management agreed on a contract — because he felt “he was not informed properly of the Spurs deal.” Washburn didn’t elaborate further on the information Morris supposedly wasn’t told about, but NESN speculated that the missing details might have played a part in his recent decision to fire his agent, Klutch Sports founder Rich Paul.

As explained elsewhere by Stefan Bondy of New York Daily News, Marcus Morris was able to sign with the Knicks because the team had found itself with “unexpected” salary cap space after being forced to renegotiate former Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers wingman Reggie Bullock’s contract. Bondy added that Morris also turned down a three-year, $41 million offer from the Los Angeles Clippers before he had seemingly agreed to join the Spurs in free agency, only to end up in New York.

“Perhaps something took place during that sequence of events that triggered his flip-flop,” NESN suggested.

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As further pointed out by New York Daily News, the Spurs made up for missing out on Morris by signing Trey Lyles, who had last played for the Denver Nuggets as Paul Millsap’s backup at power forward. The Clippers, meanwhile, used the cap space they had originally saved up for Morris to absorb the contract of former Portland Trail Blazers forward Moe Harkless, who arrived in Los Angeles as part of the four-team trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat.

A journeyman of sorts who had played for four NBA teams in eight seasons prior to this summer’s free agency saga, Morris averaged 13.9 points, 6.1 total rebounds and 1.5 assists, and started 53 of 75 regular-season games for the Boston Celtics in the 2018-19 NBA season, according to his Basketball-Reference page. Prior to his move to Boston, the 29-year-old combo forward had also played for the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons since entering the NBA as a first-round pick out of Kansas in 2011.