After all the angst and unfounded uproar, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on only the 12th day of free agency, completed its checklist of offseason needs.
And just like that, all the shouting and second-guessing this summer seems rather silly.
A day after learning it would not win the Pau Gasol sweepstakes, the Thunder snagged free agent sharpshooter Anthony Morrow, as first reported by The Oklahoman, agreeing to a deal that could pay the 28-year-old journeyman up to $10 million over three years. Oklahoma City has a history of maintaining flexibility on the back end of contracts, making it likely that Morrow’s final year is non-guaranteed.
Morrow, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard/small forward, fills a pressing need for the Thunder with his shooting ability and should bolster the team’s depth on the wing. He’s a career 42.8 percent shooter from 3-point range and connected on 45.1 percent from that distance in 76 games last season with New Orleans.
In his six NBA seasons with New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, New Jersey and Golden State, Morrow has never shot less than 37.1 percent from behind the 3-point line, and his consistency throughout his career ultimately is what made him so attractive to the Thunder.
Morrow holds career averages of 10.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and one assist in 373 NBA games, 129 as a starter. He’s a career 45.2 percent shooter from the field and 88.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Joining a team with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant is expected to make Morrow even more of a threat, as he’s never played with talents like the All-Star duo that garners so much of defenses’ attention for the Thunder. Their presence could result in the most open shots Morrow has ever seen.
It could be a great marriage.
Oklahoma City has become an improved 3-point shooting team over the last two seasons but, at 36.1 percent, still ranked 14th out of the league’s 30 teams. The loss of Derek Fisher, who moved on to coach New York, and the expected loss of free agent forward Caron Butler, who shot 44.1 percent from 3-point range in 22 games with the Thunder, could have been big blows to the team’s accuracy from long range.
Morrow, who started just 10 games over the past two seasons, isn’t likely to replace Thabo Sefolosha as the starting shooting guard. But as the Thunder continues to look to surround its core players with complementary pieces, Morrow will step in as arguably the best pure shooter Oklahoma City has ever had.
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