The Los Angeles Lakers will look very different next season. Of the nine players on their list of championship wins who entered an unlimited free agency on Wednesday, three have signed with other teams: Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. So far, the only player they have rewritten is Kentavid Caldwell-Pope.
That is expected to change when the Lakers sign a contract with Anthony Davis, but there is at least one other player who may return next season: Markif Morris. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Morris would like to stay in Los Angeles:
Free agent striker Markif Morris is interested in re-signing with the Lakers, which will give them another flexible player.
The Lakers would also like to get Morris back, according to Turner̵
After the Lakers sign Davis and Caldwell-Pope for their respective deals, they are expected to be just $ 6.9 million below the tax apron; something they can’t go beyond because they’ve limited themselves, using their exceptions for Montresl Harrel and Wesley Matthews. This means that they will barely have enough money to complete their list of minimum veteran contracts.
So if Morris wants to re-sign with the Lakers for more than the veteran’s minimum, the Lakers will likely have to find a contestant for JaVale McGee, who will win $ 4.2 million next season. This would allow them to give Maurice 120% of his minimum wage, using his non-bird rights, and complete the rest of the list of minimum veteran contracts.
However, the $ 2.8 million the Lakers could offer Maurice will still not be more than the 3.6-year exception every two years that many contenders still have. If that’s the test Maurice is looking for, Los Angeles may not be the place for him – or to say, the Lakers may not be the team for him.
The Clippers can offer Markieff a two-year exception if they give up Joachim Noah and Justin Patton, and his twin brother Marcus has just re-signed with the Clippers. It is safe to assume that he will consider this option if it becomes available.
All in all, this is an encouraging sign that the Lakers and Morris seem to have a mutual interest in making a deal. While Morris is ready to work within the strict parameters of the Lakers, he will have a place in Los Angeles, especially after how much he helped them secure their recent championship.
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