This summer, Marcus Morris agreed to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, only to change his mind prior putting his autograph on the contract. Instead, the combo forward shirked away and inked a deal with the New York Knicks. It was a costly turn of events for the Silver and Black, as the Spurs traded away Davis Bertans to make room for Morris.
As fate would have it, Morris and the Knicks travel to San Antonio for each team’s season opener. The 30-year-old out of Kansas is prepared for an unhappy audience at the game.
“If I was them, I’d boo me too,” Morris admitted.
Morris will make $15 million with the Knicks this season and will become a free agent again next summer. The deal he agreed to with San Antonio was a two-year, $20 million contract, with the second year a player option.
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve bet on myself — would have bet on myself if I went to San Antonio,” said Morris. “I’d still be betting on myself with a one-year deal with that option.”
While Gregg Popovich wasn’t able to hide his anger with Morris when talking about him at training camp, Morris has only had positive things to say about Popovich, RC Buford and new general manager Brian Wright.
“No hard feelings,” he claims. “No disrespect toward them.”
Impact of Marcus Morris’ Betrayal
For the Spurs, Pop has used the preseason to try to figure out the starting lineup. If Morris had followed through on his word, he likely would have started at power forward. Without Morris, Pop first went with Jakob Poeltl next to LaMarcus Aldridge. In the final two preseason games, Pop inserted Trey Lyles into the starting lineup — the player the Spurs ended up signing with the money they had carved out for Morris.
It’s not clear whether Poeltl will start against the Knicks or if that job will go to Lyles. Then again, it would be fitting for Lyles to start and match up against Morris. Call it the Consolation Prize versus the Deal Breaker.
As for Morris in New York, the Knicks have to be pleased with themselves. Morris led the team in scoring in the preseason, averaging 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds on 52.8% shooting from the field, while knocking down 7-of-14 from three-point territory. He averaged 25.7 minutes per game in the preseason despite getting ejected in his first game as a member of the Knicks.
Spurs fans will have motivation to be even louder than usual on opening night. Due to the circumstances, a win to start the season will feel extra good for everyone in San Antonio.