After not playing Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies and trade rumors coming shortly after, Markieff Morris’ future in Phoenix seemed bleak.
That remained the case on Monday, as despite playing, Morris only played for seven minutes and did not come back in the second half of the Phoenix Suns’ 103-101 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Morris entered the game in the first quarter for Alex Len, who had picked up his second foul. With no Tyson Chandler, the Suns had limited options on the bench and it looked like that’s why Morris was on the floor.
In his seven minutes, Morris shot 0-2, picked up three rebounds and had one turnover. Morris did not look inspired on the defensive end, appearing to just go through the motions.
After returning from an injury that kept him out of the game against his brother Marcus’ Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, Morris returned to the rotation on Friday against the Washington Wizards, but did not start.
That spot went to Jon Leuer, who has been playing good basketball both with and without Morris in the rotation.
The Suns first-round pick in 2011 was ineffective in the loss to the Wizards, shooting 4-10, committing three turnovers and finished with a +/- of -8.
That led to Sunday’s game, which Morris did not play in. According to azcentral’s Paul Coro, Morris declined to comment after the game.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek spoke postgame, but didn’t give a satisfying answer as to why Morris did not play in Coro’s recap of Sunday’s game.
“That’s that big group (for Memphis),” Hornacek said after the game. “We were hoping. We had been playing them for two years now and haven’t beaten them and thought maybe with Mirza (Teletovic) and Jon (Leuer) out there shooting 3s, that would help us. Mirza was shooting the ball well and Jon had a solid all-around game and we just stayed that way.”
The Bulls played big men with more range on their jumper like Nikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson, but Morris guarded Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah when he played, who are both more traditional around the rim like the group in Memphis.
As one can see by his reaction on the bench to Mirza Teletovic’s game-winning shot, Morris still showed support for his team.
After the events of this summer, Morris has not responded well to start the season, shooting 39 percent entering Monday’s game.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Sunday that the Houston Rockets had interest in trading for Morris and noted the Dec. 15 date for when many more players become available to trade.
The Suns return home on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic.