Morrison Is Unsure Of His Future In The NBA

As media members slowly filled the Orlando practice facility on Monday, there was a small buzz when, collectively, everyone realized that the first game would include Adam Morrison, the floppy haired 3rd pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Standing outside the Amway Center locker rooms, the former Gonzaga star’s 6’8 lean body and long hair still strike an impressive figure. But when talked to him on Thursday, we asked what he had improved since he left the NBA.

Morrison grimaced, then forced a smile.

“I’m not sure,” he said, and the implication was clear: move on to another question.

It was a moment of uncomfortable honesty. This uncertainty has seemed to plague Morrison throughout the Summer League.

In Brooklyn’s first game on Monday, Morrison started off well, scoring the first four points for the Nets off short floaters. But playing off the ball has never been Morrison’s strong suit and as the game progressed and this teammates became more comfortable, Morrison’s touches became fewer and further between.

After taking four shots in the first quarter, Morrison took just three the rest of the way. He had just nine field goal attempts in 31 minutes on Tuesday, and on Wednesday and Thursday, Morrison played just 13 and seven minutes respectively.

“I had a good camp,” Morrison said. “I haven’t been playing well here. Hopefully I can play better in Vegas and see what happens.”

Watching his minutes gradually trickle away may feel uncomfortably familiar to Morrison. A phenom in college, a lack of athleticism and confidence doomed him in the NBA. His field goal percentages were consistently disappointing, and as he struggled, his minutes per game dipped lower and lower until they fell into single digits in his final two seasons.

After spending two consecutive years watching the Lakers win championships from the bench in 2009 and 2010, Morrison took his talents overseas. In 2011, he traveled to Serbia before playing in Turkey for 16 games in 2012. Despite averaging 31 minutes per game in Turkey, Morrison left because he wasn’t pleased with his playing time. So now, as the Brooklyn Nets have brought him back to the United States for Summer League, Morrison, like most other players, is trying out for a roster spot.

“Overseas, you’re not going to have the nicer things you have in the League,” Morrison said. “Obviously the play is a little bit different. The game is really different.”

In Turkey, Morrison was effective. Though his three point percentages never topped .400, even with a shorter line, Morrison was able to get shots closer to the basket and score the ball inside the arc.

He shot .513 from the field overall in Turkey and averaged 13.7 points per game.

“I just want people to see that I’m healthy, that I can move and that I can play a little defense,” Morrison said. “Hopefully people understand I feel like I can still score in this league. So maybe it will happen.”

Confidence is a strange phenomenon. For Jacob Pullen (profiled yesterday by Hoops Addict), confidence gives him a desire to have the ball in crunch time. It gives players a knowledge, even if the knowledge is false, that they are the best player on the court, and that belief can be part of what makes a player great.

“Maybe it will happen.”

The spoken implication, of course, is that Morrison hasn’t given up hope, but the unspoken implication is that an NBA comeback might not happen. He doesn’t know whether or not he will make a roster. He isn’t certain.

For Adam Morrison, and for any NBA player, uncertainty does not bode well for the future.

Brooklyn Nets Offseason Preview

One thing is certain, the artist formerly known as the New Jersey Nets is headed to its new home in Brooklyn, the brand new Barclays Center, sporting a new attitude along with a fresh new look.

What is uncertain is who will be wearing the new attire when the team opens the 2012-2013 NBA season.

With Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace expected to opt out out of their contracts to test free agency, the Nets are left with only four players under contract (five if Jordan Farmar exercises his player option). The team could extend a qualifying offer to Brook Lopez, which would keep him under contract for one more season, before becoming an unrestricted free agent next year.

Williams and Wallace opting out is a scary predicament, with the threat of losing the teams most prolific players to the open market. However, the financial flexibility the team gains when the players opt out could help bring in new players, while still being able to retain the Williams/Wallace combo.

The Nets will have close to $40 million in cap space to spend this offseason, plenty of cash to try and retain the team’s core while adding new and important pieces. The team’s main priority is to sign Williams, whose new contract would take up about half of the team’s cap space. The other $20 million could go to resigning Wallace and Kris Humphries (who averaged a double-double for the second straight season) to new deals. However, long-term deals for Wallace and Humphries would soak up most of the remaining cap space, leaving the team with little wiggle room for the next few seasons.

I think the best offseason scenario for the Nets would be to resign Williams to a long-term deal, while keeping Wallace and Humphries under one-year contracts. The team would retain its superstar and its formidable supporting cast, while not committing long-term to anyone minus Williams. This way the Nets could be major players in the 2013 offseason, when the free agent class includes behemoths Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson and many more.

The ideal situation may be just a pipe dream though. Humphries, who played under a qualifying offer this past season, will most likely be looking for long-term security. Wallace is more likely to take a one-year deal, but don’t be surprised if another team throws a large sum of money at the versatile forward. If that’s the case, the team will have to find value in a relatively weak free agent class or explore trade options to fill in the holes for its first season in Brooklyn.

The Nets will most likely be without its lottery pick in this year’s draft (top three protected), so expect guys like Gerald Green and Sundiata Gaines to get one-year contracts to fill out the roster. If Humphries and Wallace don’t resign, the Nets could find value in a guy like Carl Landry or Antawn Jamison for a relatively fair price. Dominic McGuire, who had a solid season with the Golden State Warriors, is another name the Nets could go after if the price is buyer-friendly.

I think a realistic and positive outcome for the Nets would be resigning Williams and grabbing value players to fill out the roster. A team composed of Williams, a healthy Lopez, emerging youngsters MarShon Brooks and Damion James, plus a few solid role players, could compete in the erratic Atlantic Division.

Come 2013, the Nets would have a boatload of cash to spend and could easily lure some big names to Brooklyn.