A turbulent summer that included deals with the Spurs (reneged upon) and Knicks (signed) – but, according to Morris, no contact from Boston.
Morris, via Jay King of The Athletic:
“I just refuse to watch any Boston Celtics games,” Morris said. “I refuse. I’m in New York now. I thought it was a great possibility of me coming back here. So, by me not even getting that opportunity or getting that chance to have that, I refuse to do anything with Boston.”
Morris does not necessarily hold a grudge against Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, but wishes the organization at least would have contacted him when free agency opened on June 30. Morris thought he deserved at least that much.
It’s unsurprising the Celtics didn’t try to re-sign Morris. They used the cap space vacated by him and Al Horford to sign Kemba Walker, a star point guard who replaced Kyrie Irving. Boston already had a few higher-priority forwards – rising stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown plus Gordon Hayward, whose big salary practically necessitates giving him opportunities to get back on track.
Perhaps, the Celtics could have signed-and-traded Irving to stay over the cap and maintain Morris’ cap hold. But by acquiring Walker in a sign-and-trade, Boston hard-capped itself. In that scenario, the priority clearly would’ve been retaining Horford. Fitting both Horford and Morris under the hard cap seems unrealistic.
Morris wears his emotions on his sleeve. I don’t blame him for resenting the Celtics, and I’m unsurprised he’s saying so. He still talks about the Suns mistreating him. He holds grudges and uses them for motivation. It’s part of why he has become an NBA success.
New York sounds happy with Morris, and – losing aside – he seems happy to be there. This saga worked out fine for everyone involved.
Of course, Morris is on only a one-year contract. We’ll see what he thinks of the Knicks after next offseason. Just a few months ago, he was content with Boston.