Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek optimistic relationship fixable with Markieff Morris
PHOENIX — A half-dozen Phoenix Suns players became fashion models Tuesday night as the team unveiled its new marketing campaign and uniforms for the upcoming 2015-16 season, including the alternate black, which will be worn 13 times, including the home opener.
Point guard Eric Bledsoe donned that sleeveless look.
The other uniforms revealed included the home white (sported by forward Jon Leuer), road purple (point guard Brandon Knight), legacy gray (forward P.J. Tucker), alternate orange (guard Archie Goodwin) and Los Suns Hispanic Heritage (guard Devin Booker).
Missing from the affair was forward Markieff Morris, the longest-tenured player on the roster.
His absence was expected, and to be fair, his appearance was not scheduled.
Morris has kept largely to himself, shunning most in the organization ever since twin brother Marcus was traded to Detroit in July, a fact head coach Jeff Hornacek alluded to during his remarks to the evening’s invited guests at The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician.
“Now we have one little thing we got to take care of, hopefully,” he said, smiling.
Morris wants out, and he has not been shy to express his feelings, mostly on social media.
His public demand for a trade earned him a $10,000 fine from the NBA, which deemed his comments to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer last month “detrimental” to the league.
“Markieff is taking some time to himself, as you guys know, so I don’t really want to speak on the matter; just wish him the best,” Knight said.
The communication between Morris and the team has been limited, at best.
The occasional text message has been exchanged, according to Hornacek, who delved into the topic further with a handful of reporters.
“Hopefully he can get here and we can all talk to him. I think once he gets here with the players — and maybe the players can help out in that regard — and realize that, probably like anything else, it happens when you might not be happy with the organization, but you’re a professional, you go out there and you play as hard as you can,” he said.
“Really, when you get out there and start playing games, you’re not playing for the organization, you’re probably not even playing for your coaches, you’re playing for yourself and your teammates because that’s the bond that those guys have as players, so once he gets playing with these guys I think he’ll be okay.”
With three weeks before the start of training camp, much of the roster is already in town.
Forward Mirza Teletovic joined voluntary workouts Tuesday with center Tyson Chandler expected soon, leaving Morris as the only player under contract yet to show their face at soon-to-be-named Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Hornacek said he understands Morris’ disappointment and is not worried about a potentially bad attitude permeating the locker room.
“I know Markieff,” he said. “I know that when he gets here and starts playing, he’s a competitor and he’s going to try to win. Hopefully, he can get whatever he has off his chest with us and get back to business and help this team win.”