When the Los Angeles Lakers traded Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley for Mike Muscala — and opened up a roster spot in the process — the natural conclusion was that the team was clearing the decks to sign friend of LeBron James and oft-rumored Lakers target Carmelo Anthony.
There were varying reports in the wake of the move about just how interested the Lakers actually were in actually signing Melo, and it would seem those preaching that it wasn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion might be right.
According to Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times, the Lakers are also looking at soon-to-be-free-agent Markieff Morris for their final roster spot, but with a few important caveats that Turner outlined below:
Also, the Lakers have interest in signing forward Markieff Morris if he is healthy, according to one person. The Lakers have a roster spot available after trading Zubac and Beasley.
Morris was acquired by the Pelicans on Thursday from the Washington Wizards, but he was waived later that day. Morris, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $8.6 million, still has to clear waivers.
Morris hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 26. He was diagnosed with transient cervical neuropraxia, a spinal injury, in January.
If that’s Morris’ diagnosis, it turns out his health is not a small “if,” as according to this healthcare website, “common symptoms of neuropraxia are disturbances in sensation, weakness of muscle, vasomotor and sudomotor paralysis in the region of the affected nerve or nerves, and abnormal sensitivity of the nerve at the point of injury.”
Silver Screen and Roll’s own Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT went more in depth on Morris’ injury last month.
That does not sound pleasant to play professional basketball with! Or pleasant at all! But hopefully Morris is doing better, because injuries suck, and if he is, he is the type of player who could theoretically help the Lakers.
Morris is only shooting 33.3 percent on threes this season, but he shot above 36 percent in his prior two seasons. More importantly — and unlike Anthony — Morris has shown a willingness to scrap on defense (when he’s locked in) and fit in as a role player.
It should also be acknowledged that Morris — like LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — is repped by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, which at the very least likely does not hurt his case for a roster spot.
However, Morris would not fix the Lakers’ rebounding woes —for his career he grabs 11.8 percent of available rebounds while on the floor — and the team should probably be careful about adding another member to the ranks of its walking wounded. But if Morris is healthy and ready to play, he would in theory make a solid addition. It sounds like the Lakers will sniff around to see if that is the case.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.