OTG’s Trade Deadline Marathon: Morris Makes His Way To Los Angeles
Clippers receive: PF/SF Marcus Morris
Knicks receive: SF Maurice Harkless, PF/C Mifondu Kabengele, 2020 1st Round Pick
Why the Clippers would do it?
The Clippers are currently in second place behind the L.A. Lakers in the Western Conference standings, all signs are pointing toward an inevitable showdown in the Staples Center for what will undoubtedly be dubbed “The Battle for LA.” If the Clippers are going to come out of a stacked Western Conference victorious, they’re going to have to bolster their 2nd unit for the stretch run.
Insert Marcus Morris, the versatile combo forward has become arguably the most consistent player on the New York Knicks this season. Morris will come in and immediately bring toughness and grit to an already competent 2nd unit. His size, interior efforts, and shooting ability not only make him a useful complement to the Clippers two stars but a player that can provide serviceable relief for the two in spots.
This move seems geared more toward the short term than the long term, which currently aligns with the Clippers front office philosophy. Kabengele is a young, dynamic prospect that I’m sure management viewed a potential successor for Harrell. While the Clippers got terrific value drafting Kabengele at the 27th pick, his loss wouldn’t mean much in terms of draft capital. The 2020 1st round pick isn’t a throwaway, great organizations aren’t in the business of casually trading 1st round picks but the Clippers championship window is open, which means Rivers and Ballmer are all in.
Why the Knicks would do it?
This was always a possibility; the Knicks signed most of their players to short-term, cap-friendly contracts in anticipation of situations such as this. Parting is such sweet sorrow, and while Marcus Morris has been one of the few shining lights in this dumpster fire of a season, the time has come for the Knicks to send one of this season’s best players onto greener pastures.
In return, the Knicks will receive one of last year’s drafts more interesting draft prospects, Florida State’s Mifondu Kabengele. Kabengele, the nephew of NBA superstar Dikembe Mutombo, is incredibly raw but shows flashes of becoming a versatile interior threat on both sides of the ball. Kabengele is a project but has shown throughout his time at Florida State that he is a worker, like Adebayo before him in Miami his development will take time and patience but this will be an investment worth keeping your eyes on.
Harkless, a St. John’s alumnus, is on the last year of his deal. The 2020 Clippers 1st round pick may not present much at first glance, but the NBA is filled with late-round players who found success and made an impact. The Knicks can keep the pick and spent on it a developmental project or maybe the Knicks package the pick along with their own 1st pick to move up in the draft. In either case, the Knicks will have options.