Report: Lakers, Clippers arms race in West with Knicks’ Marcus Morris in middle of it
The Lakers and Clippers are the two favorites to come out of the West.
They are the top two teams in the West standings, they have elite talent with championship pedigrees, and the margin between these teams is thin.
Which has led to an arms race for role players at the trade deadline — particularly the Knicks’ Marcus Morris — as the teams look for an advantage. Adrian Wojnarowski said as much on an ESPN draft special.
Woj ended this segment by calling LA an 'arms race' right now between the Clippers and Lakers trying to acquire Marcus Morris.— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 5, 2020
After months of “we want to re-sign him” posturing, the new Knicks management is getting down to the business of trading Morris. Multiple reports confirm the news that the Knicks are intent on moving Morris, including from Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Among the key points of emphasis in the final 24 hours before the NBA trade deadline: The Knicks know they can move Marcus Morris -- it appears to be only a matter of where now -- and we await the Clippers' long-awaited move(s)— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 5, 2020
A few Knicks items about 24 hours from deadline - hearing Morris will be moved and that they are still in on D'Angelo Russell. And...two weeks after being announced as rebranding arm of Knicks, Steve Stoute is a prominent voice in all of this, including finding new front office.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) February 5, 2020
The question is, where? On SportsCenter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the two Los Angeles teams are at the front of the pack.
ESPN's Woj - "It's become increasingly likely that Marcus Morris will be elsewhere at the trade deadline. There's a significant marketplace for him. Both Clippers, Lakers are competing for him. Not just the opportunity acquire him, but to keep him away from your rival."— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 5, 2020
The challenge for the Lakers is trade construction. Kyle Kuzma is the bait, and the Knicks like the young forward, but he only makes $2 million, to match salaries the Lakers would have to throw in Danny Green (something they do not want to do), or get the Knicks to accept a combination of players with Kuz (DeMarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley would work, for example). The question the Lakers need to ask themselves becomes, are they better with Morris but no Kuzma and Green (or Bradley)?
The Clippers have their 2020 first-round pick and Mo Harkless to make a deal. The Knicks reportedly want Landry Shamett and are getting shot down.
ESPN's Woj on Clippers' Marcus Morris pursuit - "The one thing the Clippers have not done and won't do is put Landry Shamet in a trade to the Knicks. That's who New York wants, but I've been told Shamet is off limits."— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 5, 2020
This is a wide-ranging race between the Lakers and Clippers, with Memphis’ Andre Iguodala being another target. Iguodala makes $17.1 million, making it almost essential the Lakers put Green in any offer. The Clippers could use their 2020 first-rounder here plus Harkless and someone like Jerome Robinson to make the numbers work. It would be very difficult for either the Lakers or Clippers to go after both.
The Lakers made calls on Dennis Schroder of Oklahoma City and Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie, but sources told NBC Sports those are more exploratory than anything substantial. In both cases, their teams want to keep those guards.
Around the league, the sense has been for a while that the Clippers would make a trade before the deadline — ideally looking for size and toughness, which is why Morris makes sense — while the Lakers were more likely to wait for the buyout market.
Either way, a lot of eyes are going to be on Los Angeles the next 24 hours before the NBA trade deadline as one move could tip the balance in the West.