New York Knicks rumors: Marcus Morris could fetch first-round pick in trade

Recent New York Knicks rumors involve Marcus Morris, who could bring back quite a haul on the trade market.

New York Knicks rumors are going to be picking up soon. With the Dec. 15 — the date nearly half of the players in the NBA will be allowed to be traded — quickly approaching, we are going to begin hearing plenty of Knicks rumors.

Given the current standing of the team, as they have a league-worst record of 5-20, they will assuredly have to shake things up in the coming weeks and months. With the team going nowhere fast, the front office, regardless of who is running things, should actively be looking to sell off pieces from the roster.

Right now, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are the only players on the roster that should be deemed untouchable. Everyone should be made available, especially the veterans on one-year deals with team options.

Heading into the offseason, New York had high hopes. Dreams of two max players, such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, quickly went up in smoke. The Knicks were never really considered by the top free agents, so they pivoted elsewhere.

In theory, this plan made sense. The team loaded up on veterans to help the young players along and become more competitive. Even better, they were all one-year deals with team options for a second season, except for Julius Randle. That gave the Knicks some flexibility going forward and some players they could trade prior to the deadline for more future assets.

Cashing in on that plan will be easier said than done. The Knicks are playing some miserable basketball, making some of their veterans less appealing. However, one veteran that has shined throughout the negativity, is Marcus Morris.

Morris signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Knicks after reneging on an agreed-upon deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Given how things have turned out, that is by far the best move that the organization has made this season.

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Morris is a seasoned veteran that brought toughness and leadership to the team. He has not disappointed in those areas, as he is having a career season statistically.

As the team’s go-to scorer, Morris is averaging a career-high 19.0 points per game after a 36-point performance in a victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

The former Kansas Jayhawk is shooting 48.0 percent from the 3-point line on the season, increasing that mark as he knocked down 5-of-9 from deep against the Warriors. His 113 offensive rating is also the highest number of his career, an impressive mark given how much the team struggles offensively.

Morris is the exact type of player that an organization with a young roster wants in the fold. His leadership was on full display last week when he called a players’ only meeting to talk about accountability.

However, he is also someone contending teams covet and they could come calling in the coming weeks.

According to Ian Begley of SNY.com, some executives around the league think Morris could land the Knicks a first-round pick in a trade.

“Teams love his leadership and he’s been shooting incredibly well,” a representative for one Eastern Conference team said. “You can easily see them getting a late first-round pick for him if that team feels Marcus pushes them over the top.”

Morris has been the team’s best player this season. Keeping him around has its benefits, but given the state of the organization, if another team offers a first-round pick, they have to take that deal.

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The Knicks are in a clear rebuild. They need to continue compiling assets in any way possible, and offering Morris in a trade could be a way to do that.

The Knicks would love to keep Morris around long-term, as he brings so many positives to the court. However, the team cannot afford to come away empty-handed with Morris hitting free agency again next summer.

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Handing a long-term deal to someone who will be 31 years old when the 2020-21 season begins seems unlikely given the rebuild, so they should seriously explore their options on the trade market and see what kind of packages they can get in return for Morris.