The Clippers have signed free-agent point guard Darius Morris to a 10-day contract, the team announced Monday evening. Morris is already at the Staples Center and will suit up Monday night against the Orlando Magic.
The Clippers were down to just one point guard on the roster with Chris Paul out and with Maalik Wayns no longer a member of the team after the Clippers waived him Sunday. Even for just 10 days, Morris fills a serious positional need on a squad that has Darren Collison, Jamal Crawford, and then not much else at the point-guard position.
After playing the first two years of his career with the Lakers, Morris began this season in Philadelphia, after he signed a three-year contract with the 76ers back in September. The deal, though, was unguaranteed for its final two years and only partially guaranteed for this season. That made it easy for Philly to waive him in late November. He’s been out of the NBA since.
Morris averaged 6.9 points, 2.6 assists, and 0.7 steals in 16.1 minutes a game in his 12 games played in Philadelphia. His efficiency (43 percent from the field, 42 percent from three, with a 54 percent true shooting) was well above what a team might expect from its third point guard. He’s still only 23 years old and it’s still only his third season in the league. Given a chance, Morris may find some ways to contribute to a Clippers team that is now in somewhat desperate need of an extra ball handler.
The Clippers chose Morris over a few available point guards, even with the biggest names, such as 2012 lottery pick Kendall Marshall and veteran guard Leandro Barbosa, now off the market after signing with the Lakers and Suns, respectively. Former Baylor standout Pierre Jackson has done a good job in the D-League and the New Orleans Pelicans could be interested in trading him for little value, considering he doesn’t stand much of a chance at impacting that guard-heavy team any time soon. There are also a few reasonably talented point guards still unsigned, including Nolan Smith, Rodrigue Beaubois, Josh Selby, Charles Jenkins, and everyone’s personal favorite, Scott Machado.
Now, Morris will enter Los Angeles essentially on an audition. 10-day contracts are 10 days for a reason. They’re short, noncommittal deals that allow a team to evaluate a player on a more internal basis and allow a player to show off either for his current team or one of the other 29 in the NBA. Morris may not be auditioning for a long-term spot on the Clippers considering he loses value once Paul returns, but at the very least, he may get the chance to display his skills for someone else.
Teams were eligible to sign free agents to 10-day contracts starting Monday.