My colleague, John Gambadoro, wrote a blog Wednesday afternoon entitled “Markieff Morris situation is going to get real ugly for the Phoenix Suns.”
With all due respect to Gambo, it’s already ugly.
Markieff Morris finally went on the record this week, telling Philly.com reporter Keith Pompey that he wants a trade out of Phoenix. “One thing for sure, I am not going to be there,” Morris said, before adding that he’d be “professional” and show up once the season starts.
The issue is Morris’ perception that he’s been slapped in the face by Suns management, who opted to trade his brother Marcus without consultation. Morris then contradicted himself again in Pompey’s piece by saying “that’s how business is done I guess.”
Now I’m not saying Morris is completely wrong to be upset. The Suns pushed a pile of $52 million to the twins and told them to divvy it up. That’s certainly a huge sign that Ryan McDonough, Jeff Hornacek and the rest of the organization were counting on the brothers to be a big part of their core moving forward.
But when you lead the league in technical fouls and questionable decision making by a wide margin, an organization’s view on a player can change very quickly.
Apparently Markieff needs a refresher on all the dumb stuff he and his brother did last year:
• January 7, 2015 – Marcus Morris is shown shouting at Hornacek on the sidelines of a 113-111 win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota.
Hornacek and the Suns downplayed the incident, and Morris acknowledged his wrong-doing after the contest.
• A week later, January 13, Markieff paced the Suns with 35 points and he outscored LeBron James in one of Phoenix’s best wins of the year — a 107-100 win over Cleveland at US Airways Center.
Morris celebrated by refusing to talk to the media, missing a chance to capitalize on his best game as a pro and a marquee win for the franchise.
McDonough called it “unacceptable” and Morris was encouraged to call into Burns and Gambo’s show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM the next day to apologize.
“It was me being childish,” he said. “I’ve got to be smarter than that. I need to show you guys (the media) more respect.
“Honestly, I just wanted to take the day off from media and go home and enjoy my family.”
We all should have seen a trend forming.
• Saturday, February 24 – The Suns stunk up the joint, scoring 24 points in the first half and 41 in the first three quarters of a nauseating 101-74 home loss to San Antonio.
Instead of acting like a team leader (like the longest-tenured member of the roster should) and apologizing to the fans for such a wretched performance, Morris lashed out at the fans.
“I don’t think we have a home-court advantage,” he said. “It does not feel like a home-court advantage at all. Some games are going to be bad. You can’t win every game. That comes along with sports. Nobody wins games. We need the support. We need, as a team, to know that our fans are going to be behind us and I don’t feel like this year they’re behind us enough.
“I feel like we do have those genuine Suns fans but, for the most part, I feel like we had more San Antonio than Phoenix fans tonight.”
Seriously? That’s like a pilot blaming the passengers for a bumpy flight.
Predictably, Morris took to Twitter to “explain” himself.
The cherry on this sundae, of course, is the fact that the twins were charged with two counts of felony assault in April stemming from a January incident in which a 36-year-old man was beaten by a group of five men.
So in review, the Morris’ gave Suns brass four big, fat reasons to reconsider the twins’ future status — one of them was a felony assault charge. So trading Marcus was a “slap in the face?”
The individual value of each player was already severely reduced before Marcus petulantly took shots at the Suns in his introductory press conference in Detroit. He doubled down on that by ripping Suns fans on Twitter.
Now, Markieff spouts off about wanting a trade out of town.
I don’t envy Ryan McDonough right now. I imagine he’s getting hung up on a lot by general managers around the league — or at least having really short conversations about Markieff’s availability.
Because what the Morris brothers don’t realize is, they’re toxic. They’ve proven they can’t play together at the NBA level (see 2014-15) and they’re apparently not receptive to the idea of playing apart.
Things change, Markieff. Like your place in the Suns’ future. Your actions are the reason it changed. Accept it.
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