Morris Accepts LAL Offer for 2012-13

Darius Morris accepted the Lakers qualifying offer for 2012-13, which will keep the former second round pick in Los Angeles at least through next basketball season.

Morris, who appeared in 19 games while averaging 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes per game as a 21-year-old, improved throughout the season while putting in extra time at the gym – both on the court and in the weight room.

He’s eager to show his improvement at the Las Vegas Summer League, in which L.A. plays its first game on July 13.

“I think summer league will be big for me,” he said at his exit interview. “I think certain teams liked me in the draft, but I’ve gotten way better since then. It’ll be a good experience for me, a good opportunity.”

Morris hopes to earn a larger role in Coach Mike Brown’s rotation next season, but recognizes that he needs to prove why minutes should be his starting in Vegas and moving through the summer and eventually October’s training camp. He feels he’s a step ahead having learned a lot through his rookie season.

“(L.A.) was a great place for me to get introduced to the league, because of the winning basketball,” he explained. “(You learn) just (how to) value a possession. Elsewhere, they probably are not worried about playing playoff basketball, which is different. A shot you might take in the regular season, you might not take in the playoffs.

“I heard a lot of (our) veterans talking about that. With tempo, defense, you have to start stepping (it all) up. There were definitely a lot of things I learned just being on a championship caliber team.”

Fellow second rounder Andrew Goudelock was already signed through the 2012-13 season as well. Goudelock and Morris will join 2012 second round picks Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre on the summer league squad, in addition to Christian Eyenga. will be there to cover the proceedings starting on July 13.