Once the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline passed, the Los Angeles Lakers quickly focused on the buyout market in order to make improvements to the team.
Though the Lakers failed to bring in someone initially, they were able to land Markieff Morris after he was released by the Detroit Pistons.
Morris undoubtedly filled a need for the Lakers as a big forward who can shoot the ball and potentially defend some of the bigger wing players whom they might see in the 2020 NBA playoffs. Joining the Lakers after being with the Pistons was certainly a big move up for Morris and he sacrificed a lot of money in order to do so.
According to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype, Morris sacrificed more money than any other player in the buyout market in order to get his release:
Markieff Morris sacrificed the most guaranteed salary in a buyout than any other player this season. Morris gave back a total of $4,540,113 to the Pistons. $940,113 came out of his 2019-20 salary and the remaining $3.6 million came from declining his 2020-21 player option. His prorated minimum salary right after clearing waivers would’ve been $694,702, but he signed with the Lakers for $1.75 million for the rest of the season.
Gozlan did note, however, that Morris stands to make most of the money back depending on how things go for him in 2020 NBA free agency:
While it appears he lost $2.8 million in the process, the combination of the $1.75 million for 2019-20 and signing for at least the veteran minimum in 2020-21 (currently projected at $2.45 million for Morris) will recoup enough money to almost break even.
Morris was going nowhere with the Pistons who won’t make the playoffs and now, he eventually has the chance to win a championship with the Lakers if/when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes.
In a sense, Morris is effectively betting on himself as a strong performance in a deep Lakers playoff run could make him a valued commodity in the free agent market, netting him more money than he would’ve made had he stuck with his player option for next season.