Since they traded his twin brother Marcus to the Pistons, Markieff Morris has made his displeasure with the Suns very well known. He said unequivocally last week, on record, that he’s “not going to be there.” A few days later, a report surfaced that Morris would prefer to be traded to either the Rockets or the Raptors. Whatever happens, he wants out of Phoenix, and it’s probably in the Suns’ best interests to trade him rather than deal with a headache of lingering drama in training camp.
But while most of Phoenix’s front office undoubtedly want him gone at this point, his teammates don’t feel that way. Point guard Brandon Knight, who just signed a five-year, $70 million deal this summer to stay with the Suns, said in a radio interview that he wants to play with Morris if he sticks around.
Via Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:
“That’s really all I can speak on that matter — just want him to be happy,” Knight told Jared Greenberg and Rick Fox on “Off the Dribble” after Morris went public with his desire to leave the Suns this week. “If he stays with us, we’d definitely love to have him. Great player. I’m looking forward to playing with him. But if not, it’s a business. Like I said, I just want Markieff to be happy. That’s the main thing. I love him as a player. I love his game. So as of now, I’m excited to play for him.”
Just going to go out on a limb here and say it’s highly unlikely Morris is still in Phoenix by training camp. If they keep him, they open themselves up to the possibility of this drama spilling out into the season, which is not a great option for a team that’s on the bubble between the playoffs and the lottery. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to get much for him, even though he’s a starting-caliber power forward on a terrific contract. He and his brother still have that felony assault charge looming, and this post-trade episode will only create more question marks about his attitude that will give teams pause about giving up a lot of value for him.
Markieff Morris is unhappy in Phoenix and trying to force the Suns to trade him.
What’s his preferred destination and how does he want to get there?
John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports:
He likes Houston because of James Harden and Toronto because of Kyle Lowry, but he honestly doesn’t care where he gets dealt as long as he is not wearing a Suns uniform.
He is going to tell the Suns he can’t play for them, has too much hatred and animosity built up and that they won’t want him around.
Markieff is not calling back teammates and plans to be very standoffish when he reports to camp. He does not plan on arriving until he absolutely has to, so no pickup games with the boys before camp starts. He is expected to make a circus of media day.
He has told those close to him he can never be happy in Phoenix. That he won’t say a word to any of the Suns’ upper management and will have one word answers for Coach Hornacek. He will keep things short and simple.
He wants them to know he is not motivated.
For his sake, I’m glad Morris would be happy anywhere (outside Phoenix). The Suns sure aren’t going to do him any favors.
But the Rockets and Raptors would make sense on a number of levels. Both teams have several solid assets to construct a deal, making it more likely to find a workable package. They also could both use another talented power forward. Patrick Patterson is fine in Toronto, but he’s not an inspiring starter. I like Terrence Jones in Houston, but Daryl Morey is the type to hedge his bets with another talented player.
This is the time to trade for Morris. He’s quarrelling with his current team, facing felony assault charges and coming off a relatively down season. His value could hardly sink lower.
But he also quietly played very well in 2013-14, is just 25 and has an affordable four years and $32 million remaining on his contract. There are things about Morris to like – especially if he want to play for your team.
Last summer, twins Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris each took a little less money so they could play as teammates with the Phoenix Suns, as they had done since high school and through college at Kansas. Then this summer the Suns turned around and traded Marcus to Detroit to clear cap space as part of their failed effort entice LaMarcus Aldridge.
That has not set well with Markieff at all — he feels the franchise stabbed them in the back. Suns management hoped he would come around, but reports were Markeiff wanted out.
Now those are not reports — Markeiff said just that to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“One thing for sure, I am not going to be there,” Morris said Tuesday after a morning workout at Competitive Edge Sports in King of Prussia. “If you want to put that out there, you can put that out. ” he added. “I don’t give a [freak]. I am not going to be there at all. That’s just what it is.”
What happens if the Suns don’t trade him before training camp starts?
“I’ve got to show up. No question.” said Markieff Morris, who is scheduled to make $8 million this season. “You can’t do that. I will be a professional. Don’t get me wrong.
“But it won’t get that far. … I’m going to be out before then, should be.”
Morris would get fined by the league for saying “I am demanding a trade.” But this is as close as one can get to that line without crossing it.
Markeiff is not likely landing with his brother in Detroit — just-drafted Stanley Johnson is the future at the three for the Pistons, they are not going to pay two twins at that spot in front of him. But it doesn’t sound like Markeiff cares as much about that — he feels betrayed, and he wants to be somewhere else.
Everyone in the league knows that, good luck getting market value for him in a trade. The Suns have put themselves in a bind.
The Suns split up the Morris twins in July, trading Marcus Morris to Detroit, separating him from Markieff much to his chagrin. The twins are extremely close — they live together, and their agent even negotiated their contract extensions together. Understandably, the Suns were worried about how Markieff would handle his brother being traded away. The assumption from head coach Jeff Hornacek and GM Ryan McDonough was that once training camp rolled around, he’d be fine.
Phoenix-area radio host John Gambadoro reports that his mindstate these days as it relates to the Suns is…not so good:
We’ll see how this plays out over the next two months. Markieff Morris is a talented power forward who could help a lot of teams and at $8 million a year for the next four years, he’s on a great contract. But his trade value isn’t at its highest right now: not only are there obvious questions about whether he will be happy playing without his brother, but both of them are currently in the middle of some legal problems, having been charged with felony aggravated assault. It’s tough to see another team giving up a lot of assets for him with all of this baggage. Whether in Phoenix or elsewhere, he’s going to have to learn that this is a business and nobody guaranteed him that he’d always be able to play with Marcus.
Twins Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris were both playing for the Suns last season when they were charged with aggravated assault tied to an incident outside a recreation basketball game last January. (Marcus has since been traded to Detroit, and Markieff may not be happy about that.)
The Morris twins have denied any involvement in the attack, or even knowing the victim.
While a grand jury said there was enough evidence to go to trial, the twins’ attorneys want the case to go back to that grand jury, reports the Arizona Republic.
The defense attorneys for Marcus and Markieff Morris have asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to return the case to a grand jury because they say prosecutors falsely presented information that led to an indictment on charges of aggravated assault.
Prosecutors presented “false and misleading evidence” and withheld information vital to the case, the Morris twins’ attorneys said in motion to return the case to a grand jury to determine whether there is probable cause to indict the NBA players.
Prosecutors allege the twins and three others people beat up Erik Hood following a recreational basketball tournament in the Phoenix area last Jan. 24. According to reports the twins thought Hood was sending “inappropriate” text messages to their mother. According to prosecutors, another member of the group started the attack and, when Hood tried to run to his car but fell to the ground, the twins reportedly joined in repeatedly punching and kicking Hood.
Hood has a suffered a broken nose among other injuries.
TheMorris twins have denied taking part in the attack.
The judge can send this back to the grand jury or on to trial.