Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris

Morris twins want to keep playing together even after rookie contracts end


Through pretty much their entire basketball careers, Markieff Morris and twin brother Marcus Morris have been on the same team. Same youth teams, same Prep Charter high school in Philadelphia, then together in college at Kansas. They were selected back-to-back in the NBA draft in 2011, but a 2013 trade united them again on the Phoenix Suns.

Now they want to keep playing together, the twins told the Philadelphia Inquirer on a trip home.

One little problem: Their rookie contracts are close to ending and both will likely be restricted free agents next summer (unless they reach extensions in Phoenix, which is unlikely. Destinations could change.

“Wherever we’re together, it’s home,” Markieff said. “We just go out there and have fun. The game isn’t the same when we’re apart.”

“It’s a unique situation,” Marcus said. “We’re just trying to do enough so teams can see us as players, as players, and as a tandem.”

“That was our dream growing up – it’s our life dream to play with each other in the NBA,” Marcus said. “We’re together now. We try to make the best of it. Hopefully, we retire together.”

It certainly is possible that next summer the Suns could come to a deal to keep both on new contracts, although that will really come down to how they both play this season and mesh with a changing team.

Markieff last season injected himself into the Sixth Man of the Year conversation (fourth in the voting) after averaging 13.8 points a game on a .564 true shooting percentage as he did a lot of damage near the rim. There will be interest in Markieff around the league as he continues to develop. There will be interest in Marcus, too, the brother who prefers to space the floor more (40 percent of his shot attempts were from three and he hit 38.1 percent of them). However Marcus is not yet as efficient as his brother.

Of course, the real question in all of this is if they would take a pay cut to stay together. That becomes the real test.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.