SAN ANTONIO — Knicks forward Marcus Morris got booed all night by the Spurs fans at AT&T Center but coach Gregg Popovich sought to make peace after the Spurs’ 120-111 season-opening victory.
Marcus Morris had backed out of a verbal agreement with the Spurs to sign with the Knicks in July. Popovich called the move “unprofessional on many levels’’ and before the game made sure to indicate the Knicks’ actions, too, were unacceptable.
Nevertheless, Popovich said beforehand he didn’t want this night to be “personal’’ and then sought out Morris on the court.
“It was a great moment,’’ Marcus Morris said. “Going back and, like I said in the beginning, me and Pop had open conversations the entire time. And the thing he said to me was don’t allow the media to come in between what we talked about. That meant a lot. I didn’t know how he felt. I spoke to him after I made my decision. So it was good to clear the air and I got nothing but respect for him, Brian Wright, [personnel director] R.C. [Buford], they’ve been nothing but good to me during my career.”
Marcus Morris had a solid outing in his Knicks debut, scoring 26 points but also committing five fouls. The Spurs were upset because they traded young sharpshooter Davis Bertans to make room for Morris’ salary.
Before the game, when a New York scribe asked what he meant by unprofessional, Popovich said, “Do you have a dictionary? Look that up and you’ll figure it out.”
When asked if he meant the Knicks or Morris was unprofessional, Popovich said, “Who signed him? I thought it was the Knicks that signed him.’’
Marcus Morris couldn’t help himself afterward to complain about the officiating. The Knicks had 32 fouls to the Spurs’ 18.
“The foul discrepancy was ridiculous,’’ he said.
The Knicks have given up on waiting for former UCLA swingman Kris Wilkes. The team filled its second two-way contract spot Wednesday by inking forward Ivan Rabb, who was just cut by Memphis.
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David Fizdale coached the 22-year-old Rabb with the Grizzlies. He is allowed to be on the Knicks roster for 45 days but likely will spend the bulk of his time in the G-League with the Westchester Knicks because of the big club’s roster depth.
“Good kid, hard worker,” Fizdale said when asked about Rabb. “Really skilled big. Rebounds the ball well. A high IQ player. It will be good to get back with him and develop him.
The Knicks backed out of a verbal agreement with Wilkes in September.
“He got ill,” Fizdale said. “He came down with a serious illness. I don’t know exactly what it was. It was pretty severe. So right now we’re not going down that road.”
Center Mitchell Robinson missed the opener because of his sprained ankle, but Fizdale hinted the second-year center could be back Friday in Brooklyn. Robinson rolled the ankle going for an offensive rebound in practice Monday. He didn’t realize how high he jumped and rolled it badly upon landing. Robinson wore a walking boot and said he’d play Friday if the trainers let him.
“I’m very disappointed,” Robinson said. “This is the first game of the season and I really wanted to play, but accidents happen.”