GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be harsh. And after the first game of the season, it’s going to be over.
That, said Marcus Morris, is the silver lining in the NBA schedule-makers having the Knicks open their season in San Antonio.
After backing out of an agreement to sign with the Spurs during the summer, Morris is not exactly Mr. Popular among their fans. After Knicks practice Sunday, he said he expects to be booed Wednesday night when the Knicks play at AT&T Center.
“I have no hard feelings. No disrespect toward them,” the ninth-year veteran said. “If I was them, I’d boo me, too.”
Morris smiled when he first saw the schedule and learned that he would open the season at AT&T Center after all, albeit in a Knicks uniform. The Knicks play only one game at San Antonio, so he’s happy to get it out of the way.
“In the first game, it’s great,” Morris said. “I don’t have to go back there, I don’t have to see it anymore.”
Morris gave San Antonio a verbal commitment in free agency for two years at $20 million. Then he had second thoughts and signed with the Knicks for one season at $15 million.
The Spurs, who had traded Davis Bertans to the Wizards to clear enough cap space to bring in Morris, clearly were upset with how it turned out.
Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters on media day that the Spurs were “blindsided” by Morris’ reversal, adding that it was “an unfortunate situation that was handled unprofessionally.”
Morris, who averaged 13.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in his last two seasons with the Celtics, ended up parting ways with agent Rich Paul after all that went down in free agency. Morris originally was connected to the Clippers, reportedly turning down a three-year, $41 million offer.
Morris, who grew up outside of Philadelphia, said he felt he “was made for New York” and wanted to play closer to home.
“It’s the grind, man, the gritty toughness,” he said. “It’s perfect for guys like myself.”
Morris will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020, so by taking the one-year deal, he is betting that he can have a big season.
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve bet on myself,” he said. “Would have bet on myself if I went to San Antonio. I’d still be betting on myself with a one-year deal with that option.
“Here, I like what the guys are doing. The confidence I have in upper management, great conversations. I’m all about helping them restart and rebuild and being a leader of a team. I just think this is a great opportunity. I’m closer to home. I just feel like I’m made for New York.”