A lot of scuttlebut on Knicks Twitter right now about trading Marcus Morris, to the tune of the Knicks would be idiots if they don’t. The 11-31 Knicks — 3rd worst record in basketball. The not-heading-for-a-playoff-bound Knicks.
Reasons Why Some Say Morris Must Be Traded
Morris is signed to a 1-yr deal; he will be a free agent at the end of this season. If the Knicks sign Morris this summer, it would probably have to be for a multi-year deal in the $17M/yr price range. He is 30 yrs old. It MIGHT be for Tobias Harris money — which is $31 to $40 M per year.
So to keep Morris is to throw away a 1st round pick.
Reason Why the Knicks Should NOT Trade Morris
I say the Knicks should NOT trade Morris. Two very important reasons why:
1. Don’t Give Up on the Plan
The Knicks are still executing “The Plan“. The current part of the plan being attempted is to play .500 ball the 2nd half of this season (40 games left). Be a team ‘on the rise’; developing a ‘winning culture’ with the new coach, Mike Miller — who was the backup plan at coach.
- The young core: The Knicks have the ‘young core’ in place in RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, and then possibly others such as Kevin Knox and anyone else they choose to keep — the whole team besides Morris is 25 and younger.
- The coach: the Knicks may have the coach in place now in Mike Miller. Unnamed sources say coaching is 65% of NBA success.
With a young core in place, and the right coach in place, and a team building a ‘winning culture’ — the Knicks, with NYC as their backdrop, can lure ‘elite’ free agents, such as Anthony Davis or Brandon Ingram this summer, or Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer. And if you don’t think they’ll sign here — read on below.
To start building the winning culture in the 2nd half of this season, the Knicks NEED Morris. And trading him for an aspiring playoff team’s 1st round pick, which will be ~ #25 or so overall, is not worth it.
As horrible as the Knicks have been — if they play .500 ball the 2nd half of this season, everything changes.
2. Don’t Build Bad Karma Now
Also, to trade Marcus Morris now would be to double-cross him, and that is bad karma as well as setting a bad precedence for potential free agents coming here — no team wants to do another “Isaiah Thomas” like the Boston Celtics did — unceremoniously dumping him after he gave them his loyalty. The Celtics are still hurting from that move — as seen last summer when Anthony Davis‘s father said he wanted to see his son go to any team but Boston.
FACT: Mook is a bucket pic.twitter.com/TfZPEAK7qO
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 5, 2020
4 Reasons Why the Knicks Can Lure Elite Free Agents
The other scuttlebut that still permeates Knicks Twitter is that the Knicks cannot possibly lure elite free agents. That’s utter nonsense promulgated by main stream sports media for “Knicks for Clicks” and/or because the media outlet is a competitor to the Dolan family’s NY Newsday.
We have seen in the last two years that:
- The Players Love James Dolan. There isn’t a player who has said anything bad about Dolan — sans alleged abusive alcoholic Charles Oakley. Carmelo Anthony went out of his way to say nice things about Dolan, as did Amar’e Stoudemire and so many others — just look at Dolan’s loyalty to every other former Knick — such as Latrell Sprewell (who has a show on MSG), John Starks, Allan Houston, Herb Williams, etc. Ok he didn’t hire Patrick Ewing as coach — but you know what, no other NBA team did — a lot of people had reservations about Ewing’s low-key personality; Patrick finally accepted a college offer at Georgetown and is proving everyone wrong. Also:
- Dolan has the first and only all-African American front office in the NBA.
- Dolan no longer interferes with the GM — hasn’t since Isiah Thomas.
- Dolan spends money.
- Dolan is not the problem — the Knicks have been hamstrung at signing elite free agents for 20 years by the hard salary cap (kept artificially low at around $55 million for 15 years), and the international draft (the Yankees by contrast can sign players outside the US with ‘international signing money’, circumventing the draft — Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Deivi Garcia, Estevan Florial, Alfonso Soriano, and Bernie Williams amongst many others were all acquired this way not to mention Masahiro Tanaka and Hideki Matsui).
- Elite free agents have said the NYC is a desired destination for them.
- Other secondary star players have chosen NY: Star-caliber players like Julius Randle and Marcus Morris have chosen NY and love NY.
- RJ Barrett famously said upon being drafted he always wanted to be a Knick.
- And Morris of course, reneged on the deal with San Antonio and Greg Popovich to come here, and has now said publicly he does NOT want to be traded — he wants to stay in NY for a long time. You don’t think elite free agents listen to that?
- Become a Legend: Kevin Garnett said it; the Knicks haven’t won in 45 years; the next guy to take them to the title — or even just get into the Finals — will become a legend.
What About Durant?
When Kevin Durant said he chose Brooklyn over NY because of the winning culture it was developing — that was an indictment of last year’s coach David Fizdale. Durant was also lured by Kyrie Irving, whom the Knicks apparently soured on last year as Kyrie was poisoning Boston’s clubhouse. Kyrie possibly got that vibe; and in combination with Fizdale’s lack of system, chose Brooklyn as a no-brainer for both. When the 31-yr-old Durant blew out his achilles, it became a no-brainer for the Knicks not to pursue him.
What About Last Summer’s Other Free Agents?
No other ‘elite’ free agent made sense for the Knicks to sign last summer. Were they supposed to go after Kemba Walker? He was perfect for Boston but would not have moved the needle in NY. Kawhi Leonard? It was clear he wants to win again now — and the Knicks were not an ideal spot for him right now.
Can the Knicks Get Greek Freak?
Some say Greek Freak would never come to NY and that it is idiocy to say otherwise. These people have probably never been to Milwaukee. I have, about 6 times — it is a great place to visit.
If Freak wins in Milwaukee this year or next year, he’ll have less reason to stay. Having won a title he can move on to the big city. We saw how Anthony Davis signed a long-term extension in New Orleans at age 23, and then at age 25 said — get me to the big city!
If Freak wins in NY — he becomes a legend.
NY is not guaranteed — LA and other towns like Miami will no doubt be in pursuit — see below.
The best from The Greek Freak:
37 PTS | 9 REB | 4 AST | 71% FG | 22 MIN. pic.twitter.com/ytda1KoR2H
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 15, 2020
What About AD?
- He may prefer simply NYC as a venue, with its electric atmosphere,
- He wants to become a legend,
- LeBron James will be 36 next year. At some point in the near future, AD might be by himself in LA — although LA will probably tell him they will replace LeBron with Greek Freak.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 6, 2020
What About the Other NBA Teams?
Not to say the Knicks don’t have competition as far as desired NBA places to play. The main competition:
- Los Angeles Lakers — the only thing with LA is that, an elite free agent won’t be unique in winning here — ‘everybody’ has — from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to .. now LeBron James turning the town a tilt — even if he doesn’t win it all. Again, not to say LA will attempt to sign Anthony Davis and then lure Greek Freak in 2021 as LeBron will be 37 then.
- Miami — never overlook old wiley Pat Riley. And they have the beaches and girls and clubs and warm temps.
The Secondarily Desire-able Places
The secondary places to land are:
- Los Angeles Clippers — have become another destination, but right now they are maxed out through 2022 on contracts to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
- Boston — used to be an elite place to land but are still suffering from “The Isaiah Thomas” debacle and are perceived as a heartless, possibly racist organization. Plus they have big contracts going out to Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown through 2023 so will have little room.
- Philadelphia — you have to endure the boo birds of Philly in a second city? And Philly made their bed with maxed out contracts to Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Al Horford through 2023.
- Brooklyn — clearly NYC’s orphan child place to play. NYC is Knicks City. And also Brooklyn is maxed out on contracts to Durant and Kyrie.
- Chicago — cold winters; their knickname is “The Second City”
- San Francisco — maxed out on contracts through 2022 with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell, and Draymond Green.
In summary — the Knicks have 40 games left this year; they have a coach now who seems like he can start building a winning culture — which is the ultimate goal to lure elite free agents with a young core in place; don’t give up on that now for a #25-or-so overall pick in June’s draft, which is a crap-shoot pick at best. Not to mention the Knicks should do the right thing Karma wise to possibly reverse the bad luck they’ve had for 20 years.