Lakers Rumors: Markieff Morris Drawing Interest from LA, Rockets and Raptors

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Markieff Morris #5 of the Washington Wizards looks down court against the Detroit Pistons in the second half of an NBA game at Little Caesars Arena on December 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Pistons defeated the Wizards 106-95. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

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Free-agent forward Markieff Morris has been cleared to return to the court after recovering from transient cervical neurapraxia, his agent, Rich Paul, confirmed to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes on Monday.

According to Haynes, the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers are showing interest in signing the 29-year-old. He later added the Toronto Raptors to the list of interested suitors.

Morris hasn’t played since the Washington Wizards‘ 106-95 defeat to the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 26. On Jan. 3, the Wizards confirmed he was suffering from a neck injury and would be out for six weeks.

In a salary dump, Washington traded Morris and a 2023 second-round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans, who quickly waived the eight-year veteran.

Now that he’s healthy, Morris could provide value for a contending team looking to improve its roster for the stretch run. Before his neck injury forced him to the bench, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range in 34 appearances with the Wizards.

Morris’ rebounding and ability to space the floor would be useful in a limited role off the bench.

The Lakers need all of the three-point shooting they can get. They’re 20th in made threes (10.3 per game) and 26th in shooting percentage from deep (.339). While Morris isn’t a dead-eye sharpshooter, Los Angeles doesn’t have many better options on the buyout market.

The Rockets, meanwhile, simply need warm bodies to bring off the bench, especially with Clint Capela still out after he underwent thumb surgery in January.

Kenneth Faried has worked out well for Houston, as he’s averaging 16.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in 10 games with the team. If Morris had a similar impact, it’d be that much easier for the Rockets to secure a top-four seed in the Western Conference.

The Raptors are in need of a power forward to give Pascal Siakam a break. Serge Ibaka can switch between the 4 and the 5, but Toronto is already relying upon him as its starting center while the newly acquired Marc Gasol comes off the bench.

Signing Morris would give the Raptors more balance in their frontcourt.

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