Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are signing Rich Paul, Klutch Sports’ face and a LeBron James confidant, to find them their next contract, per Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania.
It’s a big year for both twins, without question. Markieff will have to prove that he can be a healthy, serviceable starting power forward who can play spot minutes at center if he has to and Marcus will have to carve out minutes in a heavy wing rotation with the Celtics. Both could be up for major paydays if things go well.
Oh, and let’s not forget that John Wall is a Klutch client, too. We don’t know what Markieff will be looking for, but there are a few things we know about Rich Paul that might let us know what direction he’s going next summer.
Rich Paul likes to play hardball
He’s an agent who isn’t afraid to sacrifice short-term dollars for long-term security. If he feels like a player can get a better deal down the line he’ll have that player hold out until that deal is on the table.
You’re saying “that’s his job” right now, and it certainly is. But Paul has gone as far as having restricted free agents threaten to sign their qualifying offers—a single-year offer teams extend to restricted free agents worth 125 percent of their salary—just to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent the next year.
These threats have worked at times: See Eric Bledsoe. He isn’t afraid of hold-outs, either: See Tristan Thompson. There are also times when this strategy has blown up and failed the player. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his qualifying offer pulled last season and has been playing on one-year deals since declining to sign a 5-year, $80 million offer from the Pistons.
What does this mean for Morris? He’s going to try to get paid—and he should absolutely try to, especially after signing a below-market extension with the Suns back in 2014. Joining Klutch sends a clear signal that both brothers are going to take an aggressive approach in free, especially after how they were burned by the Suns on their rookie extensions. Paul drives a hard bargain.
Wall’s presence won’t mean much
If you’re thinking this could turn into a situation where Morris is paid a hefty salary because of his relationship with Wall and his status as a Klutch client, think again. Morris will earn whatever deal he makes on his own merit and skill—not because of a co-sign from the team’s star player.
This won’t be a LeBron James situation where the Cavaliers had to pay J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson contracts above market value because they wanted to satiate James. He held the Cavaliers over a ledge practically every offseason with a flurry of one-year deals and short-term commitments that forced the Cavaliers to take long-term risks for short-term appeasement. Wall has four more years on his current deal before he can exercise a player option, so he doesn’t have that leverage.
Here’s the other thing: Wall isn’t James—LeBron is an all-time great. They don’t command the same power. There are only three or four players in the league who could make the same power play as James and none of them play for the Wizards.
There are still other questions that need to be answered here: Will the Morris twins want to play together again? Would they take a discount to do it? Would the Wizards be willing to forge out cap space to do that? Would such a move be worth it?
Only time will tell. They’ll answer those questions when the time comes. Until then, they both have to perform.