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Stein: No guarantees but Markieff Morris deal was ‘significant,’ included Joe Tsai pitch

As has been reported, Markieff Morris’ contract is not guaranteed, but according to Marc Stein, the Nets went out of their way to sign the 6’9” 33-year-old, going so far as to enlist Joe Tsai in their pursuit of him:

Here’s Stein’s report from his substack account:

Markieff Morris’ one-year, $2.9 million contract with the Nets is indeed a non-guaranteed deal. According to my trusted cap consultant @KeithSmithNBA, Morris locks in $500,000 of that amount if he makes the Nets’ Opening Night roster, with that figure rising to $1 million guaranteed if he’s still a Net on Dec. 10 and a full guarantee if Morris remains on the roster beyond Jan. 10.

Yet it should be noted that the Nets considered the Morris signing as sufficiently significant that I’m told Nets owner Joe Tsai made a personal recruiting pitch to the 33-year-old. The Nets were desperate to add a veteran who could command the respect of stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and believe Morris has the gravitas to speak up when necessary like he did in Los Angeles alongside James and Davis.

The Nets of course enlisted him for his play as well, specifically as a back-up big man, as Brian Lewis wrote at the time of the signing:

After adding size on the wings — an Achilles’ heel mercilessly exposed in their first-round sweep by the Celtics — Nets general manager Sean Marks has been looking for a backup big man. At 6-foot-9, 245-pounds, Morris is a rugged, experienced reserve, and a veteran voice in the locker room.

Indeed, NetsDaily also heard that Morris signing was suggested by Durant.

When the Lakers won their title in the “bubble” back in 2020 that was Morris’ role, filling in at the 4 and 5, scoring 19 points and grabbing six boards off the bench in a critical game 3. He hit five three’s in that game.

As for Tsai’s role, it shouldn’t be surprising. The Nets co-governor was in charge of the KD and Kyrie sagas, talking to Durant on June 30, when he first made his trade request, through meetings with his superstar on August 7 in London, where KD purportedly ask that Sean Marks and Steve Marks be fired, then on August 22 in Los Angeles where the two sides agreed to “move forward with our partnership.” With Irving, it was his one-word of a Boardroom retweet praising Irving on July 29 that was first public indication that Tsai wanted his mercurial point guard back in Brooklyn.