It just keeps getting harder and harder for the Phoenix Suns to trade Markieff Morris with the NBA trade deadline on approach.
One of the NBA’s worst-kept secrets continues to be the fact the Suns and Morris would probably be better off without one another. Morris has had trouble off the court, demanded a trade after the organization traded his brother and even trashed the team in interviews. Things escalated another notch this past week when Morris and Archie Goodwin had an altercation on the sideline during a loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Despite these black eyes, the Suns still want to try to deal Morris. Paul Coro of AZCentral.com provided the details:
The Suns, seeking separation from this abyss, are expected to attempt to trade him by the deadline. However, they are not in the same predicament as a year ago, when Goran Dragic asked for a trade and said he would not re-sign with the Suns in the offseason. Morris is under contract for three more seasons, making the summer a possibility to move him, too. Teams may be inclined to wait until then, overlooking indiscretions for the lure of contract value and roster need.
Long story short, all of this adds up and will make it much, much harder for the Suns to deal the forward. Morris might be under contract, he might be 26 years old and he might post a decent, somewhat-improving 11.6/5.2/0.5 slash line, but the incidents stack in significance. If the Suns want to part ways with the Kansas product, they may have to do so at a cheap price—why would a potential partner offer a lot for a guy who cannot keep his name out of the headlines?
Coro provided context detailing Morris’ off-court issue:
The court case is a hindrance because a felony conviction would result in jail time and a league suspension. However, the victim recanted his identification of Markieff as one of the men who assaulted him outside a Phoenix gym on Jan. 24, 2015, leaving only the victim’s girlfriend as a key witness. The victim’s private attorney of record also was changed Wednesday, nearly 13 months after the incident.
ESPN’s Mark Jones provided a look at the incident with Goodwin:
Markieff Morris throwing hands at teammate Archie Goodwin in the Suns huddle.Morris hasn’t been happy all year. https://t.co/RDB6ZV9fUv
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) February 11, 2016
The Suns aren’t on any sort of timer to get rid of Morris, not with his contract running for years. The front office might elect to wait until the offseason instead of forcing something at the deadline in a few days, which would make sense. Creating a bit of a bidding war over the summer, although also gambling on Morris keeping out of trouble, might be the best possible move.
But as Coro notes, the Suns will listen to offers at the deadline. Had the incident with Goodwin not happened, who knows? A contender might still come calling in the hopes of a bargain and hoping a change of scenery does Morris some good.
If not, Phoenix has plenty of time to figure this out.