Marcus Morris denies Rich Paul nixed Clippers deal because of LeBron James

The saga of Marcus Morris’ free agency was so strange that it almost had to have ended with him signing with the Knicks.

Morris turned down $41 million for three years with the Clippers before agreeing to two years and $20 million with the Spurs. He then went back on that and signed in New York for … one year and $15 million. This is what you might call an unorthodox strategy.

It was speculated that Rich Paul, Morris’ now-former agent, held responsibility for the first of those non-moves in an effort to appease LeBron James. Paul, a close friend of James and the founder of Klutch Sports, perhaps steered Morris away from the Clippers, who play in the same building with James’ Lakers.

Morris, though, flatly denied the notion.

“That’s not true,” he told The Athletic. “He never told me not to take the deal. For as long as I’ve known Rich — and that’s someone I have love for and that’s still my guy — he has been great in terms of advice. He told me he wanted me to take the Clippers deal. He gave me advice.”

Morris explained the decision only by saying it was what he thought best. As for the Spurs, he said he agreed thinking it was his only option.

“I was under the impression that I didn’t have anything left,” Morris said. “I thought at the time that the Spurs deal was all that I had. The process wasn’t what I expected, and it didn’t go the right way.”

He and Paul parted ways later this summer, Morris’ reneging on the deal seeming to be the reason why. The Athletic reports that Paul urged Morris to honor his agreement with the Spurs. The Knicks, however, became his choice because it was closer to friends and family in Philadelphia.

The Knicks’ ability to sign Morris came up when they were able to re-work their deal with an injured Reggie Bullock. Morris also preferred a one-year deal so he might get something more long-term next summer.

“He made a decision,” Paul said on ESPN’s Get Up. “We had a conversation as men and decided to go our separate ways. And that’s fine. In business, that happens sometimes.”

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