Not sure how good this kid is, but it's a very intriguing acquisition...
The New York Knicks signed Kentucky center Randolph Morris, who played his junior season as an NBA free agent, to a contract Friday.
The Knicks did not announce terms of the signing, but an NBA source told ESPN Insider Chad Ford that it is a two-year deal worth $1.6 million.
Morris joins the Knicks in their fight for an Eastern Conference playoff berth. New York plays in Cleveland on Friday, but there is no immediate word on when Morris would join the team.
"We said all along that in terms of building this team we would have to find unconventional ways to try and find talent and get out and beat the bushes," said Isiah Thomas, the Knicks' coach and director of basketball operations. "This is a very unique situation and I don't know if there has been something similar to this. The rules allowed it, and here we are."
Thomas said the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Morris will soon join and practice with the Knicks.
"It's another guy we can add to our young core,'' Thomas said. "We're very happy to have him. It's another big and it's almost like another pick in this year's draft -- just a little early."
Thomas said several other teams were "chasing" Morris.
Randolph declared himself eligible for the 2005 NBA draft after his freshman season at Kentucky, but he did not sign with an agent. After going undrafted, he returned for his sophomore and junior seasons under Tubby Smith. Morris sat out the first 14 games of his sophomore season because of an NCAA penalty related to contact with an agent.
Due to a provision in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, Morris is prohibited from re-entering the draft and had free agent status throughout the 2006-07 season at Kentucky.
According to the NBA rookie contract scale, Morris' $1.6 million deal equates to first-round money; his salary is on par with what the 26th pick received in last year's draft and what the 30th pick will sign for in 2007.
According to Kentucky, Morris met with athletic director Mitch Barnhart on Thursday night and was asked to wait until Smith's replacement was hired before deciding whether to stay in school. A Kentucky spokesperson told ESPN.com that Morris told Barnhart he would do that.
On Friday, Morris apparently changed his mind. Morris told Barnhart on Friday afternoon that he had signed with the Knicks, Kentucky spokesperson Scott Stricklin confirmed for ESPN.com.
Kentucky is now trying to figure out how the departure of Morris, who averaged 16.1 points and 7.8 rebounds a game this season for the Wildcats, before spring semester's end will affect the school's academic progress report.
Under the new APR, schools are subject to scholarship penalties if student-athletes leave early and not in good academic standing. Withdrawing from school before the end of a semester can seriously impede a team's GPA and academic standing. To that end, Texas and Ohio State are taking steps to ensure freshmen Kevin Durant and Greg Oden will finish the spring semester.
Have you seen this kid play KR? Curious to know how big of an impact this kid might be able to make...
he is big low post player. Can score in the post. but he can be very lazy at times and make stupid mistakes. that said this is potential steal if you can develop him. its nice pick up high reward, low risk.Originally Posted by mario8723
Definatly a smart move by the Knicks. Been Watching this kid since his freshman year and he definatly has a future in the NBA. Come to think of it, he would've been a nice upgrade for the nets at the 4 over Jason Collins
Ive been following this guys situation and some NBA teams and others didnt really know he was available.Originally Posted by mario8723
It seems this guy really got lost in the system of the draft(The article describes it) to the point where teams didnt know if he was going to be in the draft or would be a FA.
He is first round talent from everything Ive heard.
Calling RutgersJetsFan, Your opinion sir?
Randolph Morris - Previous Team: Kentucky, Freshman
H: 6' 11"
W: 266 lbs
(21 Years Old)
Best Case: Jamaal Magloire
Worst Case: Brendon Haywood
High School: Landmark Christian Academy
Hometown: Fairburn, Goergia
Earliest Draft Class: 2005
Drafted: Undrafted in 2005 Draft
A different scouting report.Strengths
Morris is a big kid, a bit lumbering, but has quick feet and good instincts. Even though he's not a legit seven feet, he looks comfortable in his body and possesses great natural awareness of where to be in proximity to the basket. This comes in most handy when catching the post feed and setting up for what has become a signature move -- the turn-around 10-15 foot jumper.
The big Georgian has enormous hands and uses them well, handling tough passes from either wing effectively. If Morris catches the ball near the basket, he will dunk it. A few feet away and he has more trouble.
As a full-court player, he is above-average athletically for his size, but is nowhere near the leaper former AAU teammate Dwight Howard is. Morris is more agile than he is athletic, using good timing in lieu of overwhelming jumping ability.
His frame is certainly NBA caliber, and once he starts working out full-time in an NBA weight room he should be one of the bigger and stronger players on the floor at any given time.
As intelligent a young man as he is off the court, Morris' freshman year at UK showed that he can utilize this prowess on the court, too. He plays the angles well, using space provided him when he needs to rather than always bulling his way to the hoop.
Probably the most intriguing number in Morris' stat-line this year are his 143 free throw attempts in only 672 minutes. Compared with other centers around the country, that is an extremely impressive ratio. He accomplished that despite the fact that Kentucky's offense was in no way built around feeding him the ball.
Simply seeing more of Morris on the court, rather than sitting on the bench in foul trouble, would no doubt extend his list of positives. He showed some sparks of being able to do more at times, especially in terms of his post moves and footwork, but nothing consistent.
As noted, Morris is relatively quick afoot for a player his size, but is not a dynamic jumper. He makes up for it by gaining good position. Too often, however, the position was wasted when Morris wasn't aggressive enough in pursuing the ball. He got better towards the end of his frosh campaign, but needs to show more fire in his belly about rebounding.
Morris is big for college, but will not find NBA centers so easily moved off the block. Morris needs to improve on his footwork, anticipating his next move rather than planting and waiting for the ball to reach him.
While he has shown good, if raw, low post moves, Morris is more comfortable facing and shooting than using an effective drop-step. He'll dunk if he is alone and unguarded near the basket, but can be forced out of the lane if he's planted a few feet from the goal. Has not shown the ability to consistently create space between himself and his defender, but has shown the ability to hit the jumper over his defender when the space isn't there and create his own shot. Whether that shot goes in consistently remains to be seen.
Morris' shot blocking instincts are decent, but he's no jumping jack. He could use his college coach's instruction on attention to defense and positioning for another year since he can't make up for his mistakes athletically the way a Howard or a Stromile Swift might.
Morris looked his best in big games at the end of year, notching 20 points in the season finale, a thrilling double-OT loss to Michigan State (matching up with Paul Davis).
While Morris looked overwhelmed against potential No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut, the Kentucky freshman came up big against Cincinnati's powerful frontline, grabbing a season-high 12 boards.
Morris' best offensive games were showcases for his mid-range jumper and raw power, while his worst outputs showed his immaturity and his penchant for foul trouble. Morris held his own against Lawrence Roberts and Mississippi State (17 points), but looked outmatched against quicker centers like Brandon Bass (4 points, fouled out).
It's worth noting that Morris showed improvement as the year progressed, the flameout against Utah notwithstanding.
Morris shocked more than a few Kentucky fans with a late announcement about his NBA draft intentions, but as a big kid with skill, it's not surprising he's thinking about going pro for real.
There's little doubt Morris isn't ready for the daily grind of being a professional basketball player, but in a day and age of drafting potential over performance, Morris fits the bill to a tee.
Morris would still be better served by sticking around another year or two and learning better defense, improved aggressiveness on the glass and honing his offensive game. He'll get more touches as a sophomore and should improve on what are fairly paltry numbers for a big time prospect.
But Morris has the goods, whether he can parlay them into consistently dominant play remains to be seen.
Morris is a lot like some other high school and college freshmen centers in that his skills are not yet defined. It's hard to imagine Morris stepping on the court right now against even a passable NBA center like Aaron Williams or Adonal Foyle and having much of an impact. Obviously, given hours, days and weeks to hone his game, he'd certainly improve tremendously. However, given that he's not the athlete Howard is or the playmaker Josh Smith is, he's little more than a project at this point.
That said, he's a fantastic prospect, given the natural maturing process. Defensively, Morris still needs major improvement to be a regular NBA player, and it says here that another year of instruction from a top-flight college coach like Tubby Smith at Kentucky would make a borderline first-round Morris this year into a monster in a year or two. It certainly worked for Andrew Bogut.
Morris would benefit from a second year at Kentucky, getting good college press as one of the nation's best centers, and working on polishing his offensive game. Languishing at the end of an NBA bench seems like a waste for a kid with skill but not consistency. After all, its not like you can read Les Miserables sitting there while the rest of the team battles the Lakers.
But strong play from similar players like Al Jefferson with the Celtics makes guys like Morris feel they are ready, despite evidence to the contrary.
Was named a Parade and McDonald's All-American after his senior year.
While his game is all power, he is soft-spoken off the court and is a very good student. A member of the Beta club in high school, Morris is prone to reading Dostoevsky and Victor Hugo novels in in his spare time.
According to ESPN Insider's Chad Ford, sources in Kentucky have indicated that he is a legit 6-11 in shoes. He was listed all year at 6-10 by the Wildcats. That inch makes a pretty big difference considering that he is projected as a center in the NBA.
Morris is very crafty around the basket. He has several solid post moves that include a very effective drop step, a nice spin, good jump hooks and unstoppable rebounding. Morris is a smart player around the basket as well. He knows when to settle for a jump shot or to take his defender to the basket. Heís very mature in his game and has a strong array of moves.....Still growing, Morris will most likely break the seven-foot mark. He already has a thick physique and has a chiseled frame. He doesnít shy away from physical contact. That could be accredited to playing with fellow junior prospect Dwight Howard.....Morris needs to work on becoming a dominating defender. He can become a good shot blocker and defensive stopper with his size. He does a good job of blocking out defenders but he could always get better at it.....Heíll also have to work on drawing his jumper out to the 12 to 15 foot range in order really round off his skills. He doesnít need to rely on that type of talent but itís always nice to have a center who isnít timid when forced to take an outside jumper.....Morris is a great prospect with a great future ahead of him.
Last edited by Scoop24; 03-23-2007 at 09:25 PM.
morris is an idiot though... 3.2/2 years is the best you can do? no bidding war? to a team that has depth at 4/5? stoops! this is why you hire an agent
But he's playing for New York!! In the media spotlight, maybe he cherished that greater than a little more money...???Originally Posted by BrooklynBound
He's not an idiot. he knows under Thomas' teaching he could become a star. Him with Curry in the front court could be the best in the nba for years to come.
Thomas is the reason Jermaine O'Neal is as good as he is.
Why get into a bidding war?
To go to the bulls who do not know how to develop big men?
With the knicks he will get minutes.
Great move by Thomas. Now we can draft a shooter next draft, cut francis, trade malik, trade rose, trade frye and add pieces that better fit and our frontline is set.
great move again.
he could have got more money on the open market as well as more minutes on a thinner team. that affects his next contract. yes, he is an idiot. hire an agent next time.Originally Posted by maddbaron
No he wouldn't have. This guy barely would have been drafted. This is nothing to be excited about. I mean it is a low risk, high reward move but in actuality it does not affect the Knicks one iota.Originally Posted by BrooklynBound
Aren't Malik and Rose the same person?Originally Posted by maddbaron
yeah strong, talented 7 footers go undrafted all of the timeOriginally Posted by Chrisrud
Originally Posted by maddbaron
Randolph Morris + EDDIE CURRY = best frontcourt in the nba for years to come?? dude...you're delusional. BTW...Malik Rose is one person, not two....and good luck getting decent trade value for him.
Last edited by RickLyle IZ GOD; 03-23-2007 at 10:11 PM.
He may be an idiot but he is our idiot now.Originally Posted by BrooklynBound
Randolph Morris and Eddie Curry will not be the best backcourt in the league because they are centers not guards.Originally Posted by RickLyle IZ GOD
Originally Posted by BrooklynBound
he got the standard nba contract for rookies from the range of 20 to 26 in draft picks and he wasnt drafted. 1.6 mil per season and when he is a free agent the knicks can offer and sign him to more money than anyone else in the nba since thats nba rules we can resign him to whatever he/we want. so no he isnt an idiot. the knicks will be under the cap when his deal expires and by then he will be starting. How is he an idiot when he got the contract worth his range even though he wasnt drafted and can get a bigger one in a season and a half?
and maybe money wasnt his motivation, it is ny and he mite have wanted to come here.
Morris will be little more than a stiff in the NBA. Those comparing him to a lottery pick are crazy. He went undrafted in one of the worst drafts in history and has only improved slightly since then. He would not sniff the first round of this years draft. Morris is a big who will go out and take up space in small doses, but all this talk about him being a great signing for the future is just crazy.