Phoenix Suns fifth-year power forward Markieff Morris is furious over the trade that sent his twin brother, Marcus Morris, to the Detroit Pistons for cap space this summer.
The Suns were making a play at free agent big man LaMarcus Aldridge and needed cap space, so they sent Marcus, Danny Granger, and Reggie Bullock to the Pistons for a 2020 second-round draft pick — virtually nothing.
Markieff, who spent the last three years on the Suns with Marcus after playing together at Kansas University and in high school, told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that he wasn’t upset by the trade, but by the way it was handled.
Morris told Pompey that he isn’t going to hold out of training camp, but he’s hoping to be on a different team before camp even starts in late September:
“One thing for sure, I am not going to be there… If you want to put that out there, you can put that out. I don’t give a [freak]. I am not going to be there at all. That’s just what it is…”
“I’ve got to show up [to training camp]. No question. 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.”
The Morris brothers were reportedly on vacation when they found out about the trade, and they hadn’t been notified by the Suns front office beforehand.
“If you are going to do something, do it. The GM, I’ve been there longer than him, the coaches, everybody. I’ve been there the longest, and I don’t get the respect to be like, ‘Yo Keef, we are going to trade your brother. You are our future power forward.’ I’m the future power forward. I’m the premier player of the team. … That’s just how business is done I guess.”
In 2014, both Markief and Marcus agreed to extensions with the Suns, with Markieff signing a four-year, $US32 million deal and Marcus signing a four-year, $US20 million deal. Both took pay cuts so the Suns could keep them on the same team.
Marcus similarly felt disrespected, telling Pompey:
“I’m a grown man. I can stand on my own. I play on my own. It’s just the disrespectful side. What we did for the Suns, the pay cuts we took and for them to trade me without consent is what made me more disappointed and is what made me more upset.”
“You don’t do people like that. The voices we brought to the locker room and how we kept the guys together. We were a passion of that team. And for them to not have the respect to call me and tell me that’s why we are going to trade you, it’s just disrespectful.”
The brothers also both have an ongoing court case after they were accused of helping three others assault a man in January. Both pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony aggravated assault. According to Pompey, they are waiting to hear from the state after their attorney moved to have the case heard in front of a grand jury. Marcus said he doesn’t think the case played a part in the trade.
If Markieff does demand a trade, the Suns should have an easy enough time doing it, lawsuit notwithstanding. Markieff is on an affordable contract at $US8 million a year and provides defence, rebounding, and shooting on offence — valuable skills for today’s power forwards.
However, the Suns may not be so quick to pull the trigger. Markieff is a valuable part of their roster, and by waiting, he could perhaps cool down and decide to play again.