Markieff Morris wants out of Phoenix — and he’s willing to pay a five-figure fine to make sure people know. After a season where Morris clashed with Suns’ coaching staff, this summer Phoenix traded Markieff’s twin brother Marcus, and he was ticked.
The Suns have no intention of trading their starting power forward. Coach Jeff Hornacek thinks he’ll come around.
Now new Sun big man Tyson Chandler wants to talk to Markieff and see if he can smooth over the situation. Here is what Chandler told Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
Chandler has not been able to speak to Morris yet but he expects to do so soon. His message will focus on how Morris’ feelings toward General Manager Ryan McDonough, adviser and former President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby and Managing Partner Robert Sarver should have no bearing on his play or relationship with teammates and coaches.
“It’s not about them,” Chandler said. “That’s no offense to Ryan, the GM, or the owner. Players play for players and the coaches. You’ve got a bond. Management has nothing to do with anything that goes on when you’re on the court. That’s just my thoughts. I’m not saying this for anything against Keef either. He’s a man and he has to go through his own process. But he can be special and I know he will. I feel like all this stuff will be forgotten once we kick off and we’re having success.”
I’m not sure Morris can separate the two. He’s very unhappy.
He’ll be professional, he’ll show up to training camp, he’ll practice hard and play hard — just don’t expect him to do the extra beyond what is required. At least not at first.
But Chandler’s point is a valid one — locker rooms can become fairly insular places. Morris already has some ties with teammates and will form new ones with guys like Chandler. This is a bubble playoff team in the West, a team that likely will be in a tight battle with teams like Dallas and Utah for the final playoff slots in the West, and in that kind of environment can bring teammates together. Maybe Morris feels that and moves on from his summer anger.
Or, maybe he ruins the team chemistry and hope of the playoffs. It’s a risk the Suns seem willing to take.