Markieff Morris‘ two-game suspension for arguing with coach Jeff Hornacek and throwing a towel at him ended when the final buzzer went off Monday night in the Suns loss to the Cavaliers.
Morris will be at the Suns’ practice Tuesday — but before he can set foot on the court he has to apologize to the team and coaches publicly, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports. And some in Morris’ camp are not thrilled about that.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has asked Morris to briefly meet with him, Hornacek and team president Lon Babby prior to Tuesday’s practice, the source said. Morris has been told he will be asked to apologize to his Suns coaches and teammates, make a renewed commitment to the team for games, practices, weight-training sessions and treatment sessions and attend all NBA and Suns community appearances, the source said.
Morris is expected to attend the meeting on Tuesday and do what is needed to return to practice afterward, the source said. Still, some within Morris’ camp are confused by the team’s requests because Morris already apologized to Hornacek and his teammates on Twitter and sent a separate apologetic text to Hornacek. Morris also has spoken with his teammates regularly during the suspension that cost him $145,455, the source said.
Morris has tweeted out an apology.
That and texts, however, are not the same as a face-to-face apology.
While he has said otherwise, Morris has not seemed engaged this season, still harboring resentment over his brother Marcus Morris being traded away last summer (part of the Suns’ efforts to chase LaMarcus Aldridge). Markieff is averaging 10.7 points a game on 37.9 percent shooting, with a PER of 9.2 — some of the worst numbers of his career. The Suns’ forced apology seems to be an effort to get Morris to acknowledge he is not all in with the team right now and an effort to get him on board.
Morris was seen as a cornerstone part of what the Suns were building, but everything the Suns thought they were doing right has backfired. The Eric Bledsoe/Brandon Knight backcourt has struggled together (and now Bledsoe is out six weeks with a torn meniscus). The big off-season acquisition of Tyson Chandler has been a bust due to injury and age (he’s coming off the bench now and Alex Len starts).
And Morris has been terrible. There has been talk of trading Morris but his stock around the league has fallen so far — both because of his play and concerns about his attitude — that the Suns would have to throw in a sweetener to get him off the roster.
All those front office miscalculations have Jeff Hornacek in trouble as the coach. Welcome to the NBA. Throw in an impatient owner in Robert Sarver and more shakeups seem inevitable.