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Marcus Morris, Knicks agree on 1-year, $15 million deal

Boston Celtics' Marcus Morris (13) shoots against Atlanta

Boston Celtics' Marcus Morris (13) shoots against Atlanta Hawks' Alex Len during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Photo Credit: AP/Michael Dwyer

Two days after the Knicks announced five of their free-agent signings, they have added another player, coming to terms with Marcus Morris on a one-year, $15 million contract. 

The Knicks had originally come to an agreement with the five players who have been announced - Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton and Wayne Ellington - and Reggie Bullock. But Tuesday they backed out of the deal with Bullock and Morris reneged on an agreement in principle he had made with the Spurs for a two-year, $20 million deal.

The Knicks have remained in negotiations with Bullock, but there was no update on a deal and now they have used up their entire $70 million of cap space - money that had originally been earmarked for the brightest stars on the free-agent market. The Knicks had a two-year, $21 million deal agreed upon with Bullock, but now can only start him with the $4.8 million room exception.

The addition of Morris also crowds the Knicks' frontcourt. Morris started 53 games at power forward for the Celtics last season but has played small forward, too. Randle, Gibson and Portis are all primarily power forwards, but Randle and Portis are expected to get time at center, too. 

But the battle for minutes is not just among the newcomers. The Knicks have Kevin Knox, last year’s lottery pick, penciled in at small forward with rookie RJ Barrett at shooting guard. 

“Yeah, it’s totally going to be different from last year,” Knox said Wednesday. “Rookie season me, Mitch [Robinson] and Allonzo [Trier] got a lot of good minutes. That was part of the development stage that we were at. 

“This year we’ve got a lot of vets, a lot of older guys that are really coming in looking forward to play. It’s going to be competitive in practice, we’re going to have earn our minutes, fight for playing time on the court. A lot of coaches, a lot of players on the team know that as well. Training camp, it’s going to be brutal. Two a days, going to be a lot of 5-on-5, lot of 1-on-1. That’s what I’m looking forward to. That’s why I worked really hard for the summer, I know I’ve got to earn my minutes this year because he brought in a lot of great guys." 

The decision to pull out of his agreement with the Spurs had many team executives at the Las Vegas Summer League questioning just what that would mean to free agency where handshake deals are made ahead of the moratorium that signals the official signing period. The Spurs moved on from Morris Thursday and, according to an ESPN report, agreed to a deal with Trey Lyles.

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