The Markieff Morris saga has finally concluded.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the Phoenix Suns had dealt the disgruntled forward to the Washington Wizards Thursday, ending months of speculation that a move would be made.
In exchange for Morris, the Suns are receiving forwards Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and a protected first-round draft pick.
Phoenix will receive Washington’s 2016 first-round pick if the Wizards are outside the top nine picks. Currently, they are in the 12th spot based on their record and not accounting for the lottery.
“It’s something we thought about doing for a while,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told Suns.com. “We looked at some deals involving Markieff.
“I think it was best for everybody,” the general manager added. “It was a difficult situation over the past year with us trading his brother. Obviously there are some things I think we could’ve done better, there are some things I think he wished he did better on his end.”
In a lot of ways, this deal has been a long time in the making.
After Phoenix traded Morris’ twin brother, Marcus, to the Detroit Pistons this summer in order to open cap space in the team’s pursuit of free agent LaMarcus Aldridge, Markieff Morris tweeted he would not return to the Suns.
He was still with the team when the season began, however, and for the most part consistently voiced a desire to stay with the team.
However, his season with Phoenix was filled with odd moments.
The forward, in frustration, threw a towel in the direction of head coach Jeff Hornacek during a Dec. 23 home game against the Denver Nuggets, with he and the coach exchanging heated words. Morris was suspended two games for the incident and apologized.
That wasn’t the last controversial moment of his season.
After the backing of new interim coach Earl Watson as the No. 1 option on the team on Feb. 2, Morris got into a shoving match with teammate Archie Goodwin a week later on Feb. 10.
For the season, Morris is averaging 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but in five games under Watson averaged averaged 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game on 44.8 percent shooting from the field.
Phoenix signed Morris and his brother to four-year contracts before the 2014-15 season began, allowing the two to split $52 million how they saw fit. Markieff received $32 million of the deal that goes through the 2018-19 season.
The contract extension was a well-received one considering the rising salary cap and the forward’s production. In 2014-15, Morris started all 82 games and averaged 15 points, six rebounds and two assists per game on 47 percent shooting.
As for what the Suns received in the deal, the first-round pick is clearly the key.
The Wizards (23-28) are currently three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The draft pick is currently No. 12, which would put it outside the top-9 protection and the pick would go the Suns.
Humphries, 31, is a 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward/center. He is averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season. The Suns are his seventh team, and he has career averages of 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Blair, 26, is a 6-foot-7, 270-pound player who is averaging 2.1 points and two rebounds per game this season. A second-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 2009 out of Pittsburgh, he has career averages of 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
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