Knicks Rumors & News
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Randolph Morris, who played in only 23 games in his two seasons with the New York Knicks, signed a two-year deal worth about $1.7 million with his hometown, Atlanta Hawks yesterday. The 6’11”, 260-pound big man became the first player in NCAA history to play in the NCAA tournament and NBA in the same week. Morris, decided to declare for the 2005 NBA draft as a freshman but did not sign with an agent. After going undrafted he returned to the University of Kentucky and was forced to sit out the first 14 games of his sophomore season. The NBA’s(CBA) did not allow Morris to re-enter the draft. As a junior, he was considered a free agent and could sign with a NBA team at seasons end. In his final season with the Wildcats he averaged 16.1 pounds, pulled down 7.8 rebounds, blocked 2.1 shots and shot 59% from the field in 34 games. He was also named First team All-Sec and finished his college career leading the team to three straight NCAA tournament appearances.

The Knicks signed Morris to a two-year deal worth $1.6 million dollars in 2007. Former coach, Isiah Thomas was high on the Morris’ ability, but he turned about to be another disappointing signing for the franchise. Thomas thought this shrewd move would be a way to find unconventional talent. His salary balanced out to what players selected late in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft signed for. In his brief stint with the Knicks he averaged 3.6 points and 2 rebounds per game.

In Atlanta, the 22 year-old could be a nice fit in a frontcourt that has 6’10” Al Horford and 6’11”Zaza Pachuila. Horford enjoyed a strong rookie campaign averaging 12.6 points and 10 rebounds per game playing out of position. However, Pachuila missed 20 games due to injury and scored just 5 points per game. The only other player who is 6’10” or taller on the roster is Solomon Jones. Jones played in 35 games for the Hawks last season and averaged 1 point and 1 rebound per game. Two weeks ago, Morris spent two days working out with and against, former number one pick Kwame Brown. Brown recently signed a two-year deal worth $8 million dollars with the Detroit Pistons. Morris did not play in the Rocky Mountain summer league, but Head Coach Mike Woodson took a chance on Morris, who has an NBA body and a lot of potential. He is returning to Atlanta where he shined for Landmark Christian High School. He was named to the 2004 McDonalds All-American team. He teamed with Hawks forward Josh Smith and Orlando Magic Center Magic Dwight Howard on the Atlanta Celtics that won the 2003 AAU championship. Morris has a chance to start for an exicting Hawks team at center which means Horford can shift to the power forward.

The Hawks won 37 games last season, which is the most they have won since the 1997-1998 season. They nearly upset the eventual NBA champions Boston Celtics in the first round taking them to seven games. During the regular season they were 11th in rebounds and 4th in blocked shots. A key player in those statistics, Josh Smith, who averaged 7 boards and 3 blocks a game, is a restricted free-agent, and has yet to re-sign with the team. Morris adds size and can help a front court that has lacked big bodies in previous seasons.

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