Markieff Morris Reportedly Traded to Pelicans, Wizards Get Wesley Johnson
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 23: Markieff Morris #5 of the Washington Wizards looks on during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 23, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 105-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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The Washington Wizards officially traded forward Markieff Morris and their 2023 second-round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Wesley Johnson, the Pelicans confirmed Thursday.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium and David Aldridge of The Athletic first reported details of the trade Wednesday.

According to Aldridge, the deal puts Washington under the tax threshold for 2019-20, keeping the club away from repeater taxes. Danny Leroux of The Athletic noted the Wizards “now owe their 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 second-round picks, four of those five traded in the last four months.”

The 29-year-old Morris has averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 34 games for the Wizards this season. Johnson is averaging 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 26 appearances.

Morris has been sidelined since Dec. 28 with transient cervical neuropraxia, missing Washington’s last 19 games. Per an official Wizards press release on Jan. 3, he had “neck and upper back stiffness following a blow to the chin during the team’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 16 and a reaggravation of the injury on Dec. 26 at Detroit.”

According to the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, Morris’ condition is defined as a “dangerous cervical spine (neck) injury…usually caused by cervical spinal cord trauma, which can occur after a neck hyperextension or hyperflexion injury with possible axial loading (pressure applied to the top of the head).”

Once healthy, Morris can do a variety of things. The 6’10” power forward is capable of hitting the three, as he went 36.5 percent from deep over the past two seasons. The ex-Kansas star can also bring it on defense, which is exemplified by his sixth-place ranking among qualified power forwards in defensive real plus-minus in 2016-17.

Much like his former team, however, Morris has been inconsistent at times. A 28-point outing in October was soon followed by a zero-point showing, for example. He can be his team’s leading scorer on some nights and disappear on others. Still, Morris should be a good asset for New Orleans, especially considering he’s a big man who can stretch the floor.

Both will be unrestricted free agents after the season. Johnson makes $6,134,520 this season, while Morris makes $8,600,000.

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