Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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.
Pelicans PR @PelicansPR
The #Pelicans have acquired forward Markieff Morris and a 2023 second round draft pick from the Washington Wizards in exchange for forward Wesley Johnson. https://t.co/dyQ4qE5xzu
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.