The Suns have been shopping disgruntled forward Markieff Morris since weeks into the season, but the market for him has been thin (to the point earlier this season teams told Phoenix they’d have to throw in a sweetener to get them to take Morris). His scoring is down, he’s shooting less than 40 percent, he has argued with Suns coaches and players, all this after last summer being fined for saying he wanted a trade.
As the trade deadline approaches Feb. 18 and talks get serious, the Suns are still asking a lot for Morris, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has been pursuing a package that includes a younger player and a first-round pick, league executives said. The Suns are motivated to honor Morris’ desire for a trade – and have no intention of bringing him back next season – but teams are starting to think the Suns could hold onto Morris past the Thursday trade deadline without a deal that brings back a player of value with a first-round pick.
The Suns could wait until the summer to move Morris when teams who have missed on free-agent priorities return aggressively into the trade market for the power forward. Morris’ contract has three years, $24 million left after this season, which is still on the low end for a player of his talent – whatever the recurring issues with his attitude and professionalism.
No doubt the Suns want the pick and player, the question is come that Thursday deadline will Phoenix back off that request? Will just a pick get the job done? Or will a team in need of an upgrade at the four cave to that higher offer? Teams shift what they will take in the final 48 hours before the deadline, when everyone finally plays their best hand.
But if the Suns GM is willing to be patient (and owner Robert Saver will let him), it’s not a bad play. This summer expectations will be high for a lot of teams — from fans to owners — because of the cap space they will have thanks to the influx of new television deal money bumping up the cap. The free agent pool is not that deep. This could lead to teams coming back to a deal like this and taking it in an effort to make a splashy move.