Markieff Morris returns to face Suns for first time since trade to Wizards

Apr 1, 2016, 1:13 PM | Updated: 4:05 pm
Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) drives into Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lill...
Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) drives into Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) during overtime of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Morris was called for an offensive foul. The Blazers won 116-109. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

It was only about a year and a half ago Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough pronounced Markieff Morris one of the building blocks of the franchise.

“After hearing fans and media comment that the Suns traded their best player (Dragic),” he said at the time. “Our response to that, I think, is that Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris are still in Phoenix Suns uniforms.

It’s wild how quickly things change.

On Friday, Morris returns to the Valley, wearing different colors. The Suns ended up shipping him to the Washington Wizards for a top-nine protected first round pick earlier this season.

There’s no point in going through all of the good and the bad of Markeiff’s time in Phoenix. The split was mutually beneficial to both sides once the Suns were able to get a fair return for him.

“Guys are going to get traded, guys are gonna get waved, guys are gonna get bounced around from team-to-team, sign with new teams,” interim head coach Earl Watson said after shootaround on Friday. “You can’t get caught up in that. To me, that’s an immature way to look at the NBA.”

Morris’ numbers haven’t changed much with the Wizards, outside of his efficiency. His rebounding, passing, blocks and steals are all essentially the same, but his true shooting percentage (accounts for free throws and threes) has jumped from .456 to .535.

“I always felt free to play,” Morris said. “It was just tough to do certain things with no trust and play for people that you really don’t trust.”

Despite that, Morris said after Friday’s shootaround that he was excited to be back in the desert.

“I definitely had a great four years here with my teammates and the organization,” he said. “The last year ended kind of bitter. You live and you learn, but I have nothing but good things to say about this organization.”

What was broken with Morris and the organization is an example of what needs to be rebuilt in the Suns franchise.

While many were to blame for a relationship that dissolved, the bond of trust exemplifies a bigger issue. In the midst of arguably the worst season in Suns’ history, another reminder for how they got here arrives with Morris’ return.

The Suns were never able to regain the trust of Morris, and at this point it’s inconsequential.

Whether the Suns can eventually regain the trust of their fans remains something that needs to proven.

Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this report.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game against the Houston Rockets at Target...
Jake Anderson

Josh Okogie agrees to 1-year deal with Phoenix Suns, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent wing Josh Okogie, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.
1 day ago
Jock Landale #34 of the San Antonio Spurs drives against Willy Hernangomez #9 of the New Orleans Pe...
Jake Anderson

Report: Phoenix Suns trading for Atlanta Hawks center Jock Landale

The Phoenix Suns are trading for Atlanta Hawks center Jock Landale, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
1 day ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts during Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round ...
Alex Weiner

The Athletic’s Hollinger: Suns trade for Kevin Durant likely needs 3rd team

NBA analyst John Hollinger devised 10 Kevin Durant trades, and the Phoenix Suns option became one of the more complex.
1 day ago
Bismack Biyombo #18 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center o...
Kellan Olson

Report: Bismack Biyombo agrees to re-sign with Phoenix Suns

Unrestricted free agent Bismack Biyomba agreed to re-sign with the Phoenix Suns Saturday morning, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. 
1 day ago
Damion Lee #1 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after a three point basket in the first half ...
Jake Anderson

Damion Lee agrees to 1-year deal with Phoenix Suns, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent wing Damion Lee, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
2 days ago
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the second half of Game 6 of the Western Conferenc...
Associated Press

Rudy Gobert traded by Utah Jazz to Minnesota Timberwolves, per reports

The Utah Jazz are reportedly trading three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
2 days ago
Markieff Morris returns to face Suns for first time since trade to Wizards