Sources: Morris to join Knicks as Spurs move on

ByAdrian Wojnarowski ESPN logo
Sunday, July 14, 2019

After free-agent forward Marcus Morris reneged on a verbal agreement to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, the franchise finally withdrew its offer and instead reached a two-year deal with forward Trey Lyles, league sources told ESPN.

Morris had waffled on a two-year, $20 million commitment to the Spurs, who gave him more than two days to reconsider the decommitment before striking a deal with Lyles, league sources said.

Morris is accepting a one-year, $15 million deal with the New York Knicks, whose offer had caused Morris to renege on his Spurs agreement, league sources said. Spurs general manager RC Buford had worked to give Morris a chance to accept the Spurs deal, but ultimately moved on to Lyles, who saw his qualifying offer pulled and became an unrestricted free agent upon the Denver Nuggets trading for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant.

Lyles has split his first four NBA seasons with the Nuggets and Utah Jazz. Lyles, 23, is younger and bigger (6-foot-10) than Morris, but certainly not as accomplished in his career. Lyles could be a better long-term play for the Spurs, given that Morris considers this contract to be a bridge to a bigger free-agency score in 2020.

The Knicks' salary-cap space was suddenly available because the team and free-agent forward Reggie Bullock are no longer executing a two-year, $21 million deal, and reworked the terms down to a lower financial commitment, league sources said.

The Spurs traded forward Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards to create the ability to sign Morris upon his weekend commitment to San Antonio.

Agent David Bauman and the Knicks are reevaluating Bullock's fitness to play a full season in 2019-20.

In a brief conversation with ESPN this week, Bauman was complimentary of how the Knicks handled an emerging situation with Bullock, citing how accommodating ownership, the front office and medical staff had been with Bullock's situation.

"First-class throughout," Bauman said.

Bullock hadn't yet signed the original deal made near the opening of NBA free agency, which includes a team option on the second year, sources said.

Morris, 29, averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Boston Celtics in his eighth NBA season.

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