Markieff Morris will be one of six Washington Wizards players that will enter the 2018-19 in their contract year. Unlike others whom may be counting their final days in D.C., Morris is hoping for an extension to finish his career with the Wizards.
“I would definitely want to finish my career here,” Morris said per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I love playing here. I love being in the city that I was basically raised in and playing for this organization.”
Once labeled as a character risk in a locker room, Morris has grown into an enforcer and team-friendly personality. He has built a solid relationship with the Wizards star point guard John Wall which is another factor to him wanting to a be a huge part of the Washington’s long-term plans.
Morris is due $8.3 million next season. That’s a bargain for a starting power forward who can play center in a small-ball lineup, shoot from just about anywhere on the floor, and have the ability to step out and defend on the perimeter. At his best, Morris epitomizes the position-less basketball that has engulf the game today.
He missed the first six games of the season recovering from a sports hernia. He would play in 73 games and averaged 11.5 points, his lowest output since joining the Wizards in 2016. That could be attributed to Wall missing 41 games and his shots per game dropping from the previous two seasons. Despite his low point totals, Morris was most-efficient of his career with three-point shooting (36.7%), two-point shooting (52.9%) and effective field goal shooting (53.6%).
At 28-years of age, Morris understands his future along with the new wave of the NBA will require him playing more at center.
“[I need to] be ready to set more pick-and-rolls. That’s tough,” Morris said per Hughes. “I know it was tough on Marcin [Gortat]. I think he led the league in picks. That’s a tough thing to do, setting pick and rolls every play. I think that’s the most important thing I need to play the five.”
For the second straight season, the Wizards most-efficient lineup featured Morris playing center. A focus of reshaping the Wizards roster accommodate the evolution of small-ball, Morris would give the Wizards a more athletic player at the five like Wall campaigned for following the Wizards’ premature exit in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Wizards have to figure out how to move wisely to improve a roster that may have run its course. In the NBA, it’s fashionable to entice teams on expiring contracts. Whether or not Morris will be one of those pieces the Wizards will dangle on the trade market this summer remains to be seen. If it was up to Morris, home is right where he has been the past three seasons.