The Chicago Bulls could still sign an impacting free agent this offseason. One name that was mentioned by an Eastern Conference executive who spoke exclusively to Heavy was Markieff Morris.
The free-agent big man last played just 17 games for the Miami Heat last year while dealing with a whiplash injury. He turns 33 in September and has already played for six teams during his 11-year NBA career.
The NBA executive shared this viewpoint on the Bulls potentially signing Morris.
“If you’re signing Markieff at this point you’re doing it because you need that toughness that he brings, that grit,” the executive said. “He can fill any role. He can start, he can come off the bench, he is going to be professional about it at this point. He is a good option as a small-ball center, the Laker used him that way in the bubble and it worked. He will be 33 years old; he just wants to win. The big concern is, can he hit the 3 consistently? That’s been the question with him.”
This is a valid question considering Morris saw his three-point percentage dip from .397 during the 2019-20 season to .333 in 2020-21 and .311 last season. That said, his size, experience, toughness and positional versatility in the frontcourt could be attractive to the Bulls.
“I think Chicago is the perfect opportunity for him, I like that for him.,” the executive continued. “They missed that veteran toughness that Thad Young brought and even if you do not put him on the floor all that much, he is going to help in that regard. He will push Pat Williams. They need that.”
The Bulls seemingly have tons of depth at guard with Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu, rookie Dalen Terry and Coby White (for now). The center position is seemingly in a good place as well with Nikola Vucevic returning and with the recent signing of Andre Drummond as his backup. Chicago also has Tony Bradley and second-year pro Marko Simonovic.
The forward positions are less stable. Yes, DeMar DeRozan will return as the team’s likely No .1 option on offense again. Williams is expected to take a major leap at the power forward spot. Unfortunately, behind the starting duo, Chicago is a little thin.
The team brought back Derrick Jones Jr. and maintained Javonte Green. There’s also promising undrafted free-agent rookie Justin Lewis, but no one with a championship pedigree playing a backup role off the bench amongst the bigs.
That’s a presence Morris could potentially provide if he and Chicago are interested.
Morris May Not Be Interested in the Windy City
On Friday, Morris took to Twitter to express an interest in playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Unfortunately for Morris, after the team signed his former teammate Markieff Morris and worked out a deal with James Harden to return, the 76ers don’t have noteworthy cap space to offer.
There are tons of instances where a player may want to land with a specific team, but either the interest isn’t mutual or the financial details aren’t aligned. It could be a case of both with the 76ers.
In any case, Morris remains in play for the Bulls and other NBA teams to entertain the possibilities.
Bulls Won Their Summer League Opener
The Bulls’ Summer League journey got off to a fast start with a 100-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Las Vegas on Friday. Simonovic led the way with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in a dominating performance.
Terry struggled shooting the ball as he made just 3 of his 7 field goal attempts and committed 6 turnovers. However, he played strong defense still filling the stat sheet with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and a block. He created for his teammates well off the bounce and as a secondary ballhandler.
Lewis showed excellent energy. He finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes of action, but he missed both of his three-point attempts. Both Lewis and Terry must improve their shooting if they want to play bigger roles on the Bulls roster.