San Antonio Spurs sign Trey Lyles and pull offer from Marcus Morris

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 7: Trey Lyles #7 of the Denver Nuggets boxes out against the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 7: Trey Lyles #7 of the Denver Nuggets boxes out against the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

After the drama surrounding Marcus Morris in the past few days, the San Antonio Spurs have decided to sign Trey Lyles.

The San Antonio Spurs thought they picked up the best free agent on the market when they agreed to terms on a two-year, $20 million deal with Marcus Morris.

They had to conduct some salary cap gymnastics to get that deal done by reworking DeMarre Carroll‘s contract to a three-year, $21 million pact and sending Davis Bertans to Washington as part of a three-team sign-and-trade.

Then, Morris and his representation threw a wrench into the whole process by reconsidering their agreement after the Knicks reconstructed Reggie Bullock‘s contract to create the cap space to give Morris a richer offer than San Antonio was able to make using the mid-level exception.

After playing the waiting game for a couple of days, the Spurs have decided to move forward without Marcus Morris and pivoted to sign Trey Lyles according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

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Lyles will fill a similar role to what San Antonio envisioned with Morris.

Both of them are nominal power forwards that are able to stretch the floor and have some switchability on defense, but Morris was certainly the more talented option of the two.

Lyles averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game for the Nuggets last season. His three-point shot has come and gone throughout his career as evidenced by his year-by-year three-point percentages:

2015-16: 38.3% on 1.6 attempts per game

2016-17: 31.9% on 2.9 attempts per game

2017-18: 38.1% on 3 attempts per game

2018-19: 25.5% on 3.1 attempts per game

The Spurs are hoping Lyles is due for another hot shooting year to help space the floor around some of the non-shooters on their roster.

Lyles has been a below-average defender for the past two years ranking 66th out of 94 power forwards in defensive real plus-minus last year and 63rd out of 77 power forwards the season before that.

However, most players improve on that end of the floor in Gregg Popovich’s system and Lyles is likely to do the same after arriving in San Antonio.

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Signing Marcus Morris to go along with the addition of DeMarre Carroll and re-signing Rudy Gay would’ve been a home run offseason for an organization that didn’t have many resources to improve their team this summer.

But this franchise prioritizes culture above all else, and they simply couldn’t add a player who was not totally committed to playing Spurs basketball.

San Antonio saves face a bit by signing a solid player in Trey Lyles who should fit into their system well, but he is certainly a downgrade from a talent standpoint compared to Marcus Morris.