The signing of James Harden by the Sixers is a matter of when, not if.
The only reason Harden hasn’t signed with the Sixers since opening free agency and his decision to turn down his player option is because President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is busy browsing the free market and trade routes to see if there are other ways. to improve this team before locking Harden in a commitment.
Although Eric Gordon has been the main name mooted as a target for the Sixers (via trade), it doesn’t look very promising at the moment.
READ: 3 sightings after Joe sinks GW three for summer Sixers
So let’s look elsewhere – perhaps another veteran who spent last season playing for the Miami Heat, new Sixers member PJ Tucker?
Enter Philadelphia native, 11-year veteran and current free agent Markieff Morris. Morris confirmed in a social media chat with a fan on Thursday night that he would like to return home for a season and play for the Sixers:
Morris also said he’s currently a free agent “by choice” rather than lack of interest, and will “sign soon.”
It obviously takes two parties to get a deal done, but it’s worth noting that Morris would love to play for the Sixers. He’s done pretty much everything he set out to do as a pro – he’s made over $50 million, he’s spent a decade in the league, and he’s won a championship. Good enough!
And he can still play ball, so now it’s all about fitness and a mutually beneficial relationship.
So… Does Morris make sense for the Sixers as they fill out the roster?
It depends on a few things: the future of fringe guys like Isaiah Joe and Furkan Korkmaz, the viability of Eric Gordon joining the Sixers at the trade deadline, and whether the team sees Morris as a productive and useful addition.
After a prolonged injury he suffered last season, Morris’ value might not be that high. I imagine he could be had for the veteran minimum, which for his time of service will be just under $3 million.
Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Morris has played in 136 games and shot 43.2 FG% / 34.9 3P% / 76.4 FT% while averaging 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per match. His on/off defensive stats have wavered in recent years, though some of it could be tied to his teammates on those teams.
Morris isn’t exactly an earth-shattering addition, but he would bring playoff experience, a relative ability to shoot from deep and, most importantly, physicality and toughness to a team with a clear emphasis on physicality and tenacity for next season.
We’ll see what Morey prioritizes and if some sort of market materializes around Morris, but if he’s willing to play on the cheap, we might have something here.