Adam Morrison: Exit Interview
Similar to Adam Morrison's postseason presence, this was a pretty low key Q and A. But that doesn't mean it was dull. Morrison's back story is nothing if not interesting. One of the best scorers in recent college history, injury and lack of opportunity have undone a solid if unspectacular rookie season in Charlotte. A trade to L.A. may have given Morrison a ring, but that doesn't leave him any less in career limbo, and he acknowledged how much uncertainty hangs heavily over his 2009-2010 season. His role in the rotation. If he can even crack the rotation. If he'll even be on the Lakers, what with his highly flippable deal (5.2 mil) set to expire next season. Carving out a spot to help a title defense won't be easy for Morrison, particularly while so far behind the eight ball.
I consider it a good sign, however, that Ammo is humble enough to take whatever steps necessary, including a stint in the Summer Pro League, to turn things around. He obviously should do whatever the organization is asking of him, but that doesn't necessarily mean he would. Many a player of his pedigree (2006's # 3 pick) and years in the league (three) might chafe at a request to run with a bunch NBA wannabe's, particularly while knowing that it might not do a damn thing to alter his "DNP-CD" status with the Lakers when the season starts. Glad to see Morrison not allowing ego to get in the way.
Also, if you enjoyed seeing Trevor Ariza, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton bottle up Ron Artest, Carmelo Anthony and Hedo Turoglu, give Morrison a shout of thanks, since he "played" those dudes in practice. Smiled Ammo, "It was fun, because when you're those guys, you get free reign to do whatever you want."
Morrison was the "name" swapped for Vlad Radmanovic, but Shannon Brown ended up the surprise contributor. Well, those unfamiliar with the journeyman may have been "surprised," but Morrison was mostly just proud of a teammate he knew was plenty capable if given a chance.
Morrison was also happy being part of a championship team- as he notes, something most players never get to experience- even if he didn't actually log one postseason minute. Unfortunately, he's aware that run might not increase next year.
If Morrison isn't positive he'll crack next season's rotation, it's safe to say he's not counting on matching the NCAA-leading 28.1 ppg he put up as a Gonzaga senior. Ditto even 11.8 he notched as a Bobcat rook. But that's not necessarily a bad thing for someone looking to get a career back on track, and Morrison confirmed my hunch that he'd welcome a chance at rebirth without the added responsibility of living up to "#3 overall" status.
He also seemed to treat his scoring machine days as "been there, done that"- whether because he's truly over it or simply recognizes those days are quite possibly done at this level- and would rather just lend a successful squad his hand. "I think just being part of a winning team should be more important than just being 'the guy.' "
Morrison talks a bit about success maintaining an athletic career with diabetes and how critical this offseason will be for him. After all, it's a contract year. But unlike most players for whom "contract year" often equals "chance to cash in," Morrison could be fighting for his NBA life. Three consecutive seasons without a splash could make finding his next deal considerably difficult.