How about a trade to Cleveland?
Influential figures within the Cavaliers’ locker room are open to the notion of trading for disgruntled Phoenix Suns power forward Markieff Morris, cleveland.com has learned.
They believe the Cavs can get the most potential out of him in the role he’d be assigned.
However, league sources with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking insist there’s no connection right now between Morris and the defending Eastern Conference champions. I’m told the organization isn’t too keen with the idea, fearing the team chemistry would be ruined.
Instead, the Cavs on the lookout for another defensive-minded wing with a long distance spot-up stroke, cleveland.com was informed
There are other good players, but there’s only one truly influential figure in the Cavaliers’ locker room: LeBron James. If he believes Morris could fit in Cleveland, the Cavs should look into it.
They have a trade exception large enough to absorb Morris’ salary and an open roster spot. Considering other teams reportedly want a sweetener just to take him, that might be enough. I wouldn’t give away Morris if I were the Suns, but they might be ready to move on from the hassle.
Morris has talent as a stretch four, though his production has regressed the last couple years. I believe a trade from the team that traded his brother – let alone to a championship contender – would reinvigorate him. But that’s far from a guarantee.
When Cavs management approached LeBron about trading for Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, LeBron was more enthusiastic about the mercurial Smith. LeBron said he could keep Smith in line, and he has. If LeBron trusts he can do the same with Morris, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.
That said, dealing for Morris still might not be the best use of Cleveland’s assets. The Cavs could use another wing beyond Smith, Shumpert and Richard Jefferson – especially in anticipation of LeBron sliding to power forward and Kevin Love to center to counteract the Warriors’ small lineups.
And then there’s the biggest question: Would Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert approve? Simply adding Morris would increase Cleveland’s projected payroll by $43,030,293 – Morris’$8 million salary plus$35,030,293 in additional luxury-tax payments.
That’s a huge cost for a second stretch four behind Love and sometimes LeBron.
Using the trade exception for a wing would also create similar issues. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavaliers stand pat.
But if LeBron believes in Morris and the Suns are willing to give him away and Gilbert is willing to pay for it – notice all the ands – it might make sense.