Marcus Morris was acquired by the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, watched his new teammates play Saturday at Minnesota and is now expected to make his debut with the team Sunday at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Clippers’ deal for Morris was one of the highlights of a busy NBA trade deadline on Thursday, as one of the top teams in the NBA got even better with a player who is averaging 19.6 points per game this season and is a solid long-range shooter.
Morris joins a mix of solid 3-point shooters for the Clippers, including Landry Shamet, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams. Veteran Patrick Beverley, currently out with a groin injury, has even become more proficient from distance as the season has progressed.
In fact, the Clippers made a franchise record 24 3-pointers in a victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
The Clippers’ plans for their new toy remain to be seen, but Morris is ready to deliver in whatever role head coach Doc Rivers asks.
“I’m excited to get started, but you (are) going to see how well I fit,” Morris told reporters before Saturday’s game at Minnesota. “It’s going to be easy for me. I’m a high-IQ guy, can play any position on the court, and I think it’s going to be very beneficial for both sides.”
The Clippers really could have used Morris on Saturday in what ended as a brutal 142-115 defeat to the Timberwolves, who entered on a 13-game losing streak. Like the Clippers on Wednesday, the Timberwolves set their own franchise record with 26 made 3-pointers.
The Clippers will consider the defeat “one of those nights,” as the Wolves looked energized by a bevy of recent trades. They had three players making their team debut.
Despite the defeat, the Clippers are a solid 36-16 and have still won five of their last seven games. The Clippers went 9-4 in January and are 3-1 in February.
One of those January victories for the Clippers came at home over the Cavaliers. Leonard scored a season-high 43 points in the 128-103 victory, while Maurice Harkless added 11 rebounds. Harkless was dealt to the Knicks for Morris, along with a 2020 first-round draft pick.
The Cavaliers are also expected to debut a new player Sunday, after Andre Drummond was acquired from the Detroit Pistons at the deadline. It was a shred of uplifting news for Cavs fans, who have watched their team lose five consecutive games and 12 of their last 13.
Cleveland has not played since Wednesday, when they were topped 109-103 at Oklahoma City. Collin Sexton had 23 points for the Cavaliers, while Kevin Love had 20.
Not only do the Cavs have Love, who has 9.8 rebounds per game, and Tristan Thompson, who has 10.4 boards per contest, but Drummond arrives leading the NBA with 15.8 per game.
“I thought (the trade) was a joke at first, but obviously when it all settles in, I’m truly excited to be somewhere where I’m wanted,” Drummond told reporters after his first practice with his new team. “I’m truly happy to start a new chapter here.”
The Cavaliers were without Thompson on Wednesday because of a sore right quadriceps.
–Field Level Media