This summer, the Los Angeles Lakers will attempt to sign an All-Star free agent to pair with LeBron James and their young core. In the event they’re unsuccessful in that pursuit, they’ll shift their attention to filling out the roster with high quality role players, of which there will be many this year.
One name the Lakers are reportedly keeping tabs on is Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are expected to make a run at the 29-year-old combo forward this summer:
Celtics free agent Marcus Morris will have strong interest as a second-tier free agent, with teams such as the Knicks, Kings, Lakers, Clippers and Bulls expected to be in pursuit, league sources said. Morris, 29, had arguably his best all-around season, averaging 13.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and serving as a versatile scorer and defender either as a starter or reserve. League sources say Morris remains open-minded about returning to Boston, which wants to bring Morris back but has several summer priorities such as Kyrie Irving.
It’s worth noting that the Lakers also went after Morris’ twin brother, Markieff, in the buyout market last season.
Morris would be a fine addition to the Lakers in a non-star scenario, primarily because of what he brings on the offensive end.
This past season with the Celtics, Morris averaged 13.9 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting from the field, including 37.5 percent shooting from behind the arc, all while attempting a career-high 5.2 threes per game. He might not be an All-Star, but he’s a productive player in his role.
However, the size of role Morris is looking for could ultimately be what takes the Lakers out of the running for him. Morris started 53 of the 75 games he was available for last season and will likely be looking for a starting role on whichever team he signs with in free agency.
While the Lakers could theoretically offer Morris a starting spot, it would come at the expense of Kyle Kuzma, who started 68 of the 70 games he suited up for this past season. Even in spite of the struggles Kuzma had with his 3-point shooting last season, he is a more effective player than Morris on both ends of the floor, and makes a fraction of what Morris will likely demand this summer.
If Morris is fine backing up Kuzma, then the Lakers should absolutely try and bring him on board. Otherwise, there are better players that fit the team’s needs more than Morris does.