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Markieff Morris was one of many players that didn’t return to the Los Angeles Lakers for next season as the team went a different route.

Morris signed one-year minimum deals each of the last two seasons to play in L.A., where his value rose significantly during the Orlando bubble.

However, the 32-year-old forward didn’t have a great 2020-21 season with the Lakers despite having one nice stretch after the All-Star break.

The Lakers deployed Morris mostly at power forward or as a small-ball center to increase the spacing in lineups led by LeBron James. But Morris’ 3-point percentage plummeted to 31.1%, which didn’t cut it. His defense was also exposed by the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs.

Morris signed with the Miami Heat on a one-year deal, but he was expecting to come back to L.A. for another season, he said in an interview with Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel:

“I really didn’t expect it. It’s business sometimes. There isn’t too much I can say about that. It was super unexpected. For sure, I thought I was going back to the Lakers. But, sometimes I’m not in teams’ plans and that’s how it works sometimes.”

Instead, the Lakers signed Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony, two players who mostly slot in at power forward at this stage of their careers. They don’t have the versatility to handle the center position like Morris did, but both are better shooters.

James might also play more at power forward, as hinted at by his agent, Rich Paul.


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