Marcus Morris wants to stay with Knicks despite Clippers trade talk

LOS ANGELES — The sunny winter beaches of Los Angeles. The City of Lights. Hollywood. A title contender.

Marcus Morris said he’s still willing to pass it all up to stay with the rebuilding Knicks. The Clippers, who play host to the Knicks on Sunday at Staples Center, reportedly have interest in Morris, though they have a dearth of draft picks following the trade for Paul George.

Last month, Morris, who signed a one-year, $15 million pact in July, said emphatically he didn’t want to be dealt by the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

When told of the Clippers’ reported interest, Morris joked Friday that maybe it is for his twin brother, Markieff.

Turning serious, Morris said: “I’m a vet in this game. That s–t doesn’t bother me anymore. Rumors are rumors. Look, I told you before I’m in New York and love being here. I’m excited to help to turn this around. I’m not paying that any mind. I’m focused on what we got going on in this locker room.’’

One factor Morris gave in reneging on the Spurs to sign with the Knicks was to be closer to his native Philadelphia. When Morris is introduced, the public-address announcer calls him from “North Philly.’’

According to a source, the 76ers also have some interest in Morris as a solid two-way forward bench piece. Morris’ hometown team is on a championship-or-bust mission. Perhaps that would pique Morris’ interest more than L.A.

The “Trust The Process” Sixers are forever loaded with draft picks. Though they don’t have a first-rounder, the Sixers possess four 2020 second-round picks.

Any deal for the hot-shooting Morris likely would have to include a third team to absorb the contract numbers. The Hawks are under the salary cap and could be a facilitator in multiple deals.

According to an NBA executive, the two shooting guards mostly on the outs in the Knicks’ rotation, Allonzo Trier and Wayne Ellington, have value and perhaps could net a distant-future second-rounder. Ellington surprisingly played five minutes at Phoenix, perhaps as a showcase.

As for facing the Clippers and Lakers back-to-back after Friday’s disappointing loss to the Suns, Morris said: “We’re not discouraged. We’re going to L.A. to try to steal some games. It’s going to be very fun — fun to see how we are against two good teams and challenge our togetherness. I’m excited.”

Morris’ hometown team is on a championship-or-bust mission. Perhaps that would pique Morris’ interest more than L.A.

The “Trust The Process” Sixers are forever loaded with draft picks. Though they don’t have a first-rounder, the Sixers possess four 2020 second-round picks.

Any deal for the hot-shooting Morris would likely have to include a third team to absorb the contract numbers. The Hawks are under the salary cap and could be a facilitator in multiple deals.

According to an NBA executive, the two shooting guards mostly on the outs in the Knicks’ rotation, Allonzo Trier and Wayne Ellington, have value and perhaps could net a distant-future second-rounder. Ellington surprisingly played five minutes at Phoenix, perhaps as a showcase.

As for facing the Clippers and Lakers back-to-back after Friday’s disappointing loss to the Suns, Morris said: “We’re not discouraged. We’re going to L.A. to try to steal some games. It’s going to be very fun — fun to see how we are against two good teams and challenge our togetherness. I’m excited.”


Elfrid Payton flew back to New York to see his newborn daughter and may miss the Clippers game. Payton became a father Friday morning, but still flew to Phoenix after the birth to play. The Knicks have Kadeem Allen with the team and Dennis Smith Jr. could make his return from a four-game absence. … George missed the Memphis game with a hamstring injury, but could return Sunday.

For more on the Knicks, listen to the latest episode of the “Big Apple Buckets” podcast:

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