Clippers reportedly agree to trade for Marcus Morris, Isaiah Thomas in three-team deal with Knicks, Wizards

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UPDATE: After this trade got announced as agreed upon, it grew.

The Clippers also are trading for Washington reserve point guard Isaiah Thomas, as well as New York’s Marcus Morris, adding more veteran depth to their win-now roster, while sending out Jerome Robinson to the Wizards and Moe Harkless plus a first-round pick to the Knicks.

Thomas, however, is not sticking around in Los Angeles. He will be a free agent again (and likely snapped up by some team).

(The Lakers are the Darren Collison frontrunners, several league sources have told NBC Sports. Collison played for the Clippers and Doc Rivers in 2013-14 and reportedly that did not end on the best of terms. Still, the Clippers are smart to keep the door — and a roster spot — open.)

In a tight Western Conference with slim margins between the top teams, the Clippers just got more physical up front with Morris, and they kept him away from the Lakers.

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It’s a real rivalry in Los Angeles now — Clippers and Lakers have been in a trade deadline arms race, not just to improve their rosters but to keep elite talent from going to the other side.

The Clippers reportedly have won one battle in that race: They have agreed to trade for Marcus Morris from the Knicks, via Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Reports said right before the deal was announced the Lakers took Kyle Kuzma off the table in talks, which means they were out. It was always hard for the Lakers to construct a trade other teams would want (especially after sending so many picks to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade). Kuzma was the bait, but he only makes $2 million, to match salaries the Lakers would have to throw in Danny Green (something they were not going to do), get the Knicks to accept a combination of players with Kuzma (DeMarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley would work, for example), or get a third team involved.

The Clippers’ path to a trade always has been more direct.

Moe Harkless is the obvious salary-matching player the Clippers would throw in any big trade (he makes $11.5 million), and the Clippers kept their 2020 first-round pick just for this kind of trade. Terrence Mann has shown some real potential this season as a reserve point guard, it’s just tough for him to get much run on a deep Clippers roster. Mfiondu Kabengele also has potential.

The Knicks had wanted Landry Shammet from the Clippers, but Los Angeles has refused to include him in any trade.

Morris will bring both floor spacing and some interior toughness to the Clippers (plus a few technicals). Morris leads the Knicks scoring at 18.5 points per game, he’s grabbing 5.4 boards a game, and he’s’s spacing the floor shooting 45.4 percent from three. He is a physical defender — exactly the kind of player teams want on their side in the playoffs.

The Clippers also still bring Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell off the bench behind that starting five.

While Scott Perry is the acting GM and is making the calls on this trade, there is zero chance it went forward without him talking to Leon Rose, World Wide Wes and the new power structure coming to the Knicks front office.