Restraint has never been one of Markieff Morris‘s go-to moves.
So his announced desire to be traded from Phoenix earlier this week was about as unexpected as one of his technical fouls.
Morris had 15 of those last year, when he was second in the league and one short of the number that would bring about an automatic one-game suspension. One-third of Morris’s technicals came after Suns coach Jeff Hornacek instituted a teed-up, sit-down policy in early January with the implicit backing of general manager Ryan McDonough after the carping Suns accumulated a league-high 36 techs in 46 games.
It was pretty straightforward.
Get a technical, get gone.
The first offender?
Markieff, who was benched never to return 130 seconds into the third quarter of a 120-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 25. Morris was arguing a call on a play in which Clippers forward Matt Barnes fouled him.
So maybe he just cannot keep quiet, especially now that twin bother Marcus has been dealt to Detroit.
But if the other half of the Twin Glowers wants to do himself a favor, he should just put a sock in it.
It weakens Morris’s position to publicly pout about wanting out, and it weakens the Suns’ position in trying to put together a trade package, were they so inclined to consider the option. The market would certainly constrict if general managers believe the Suns must sell low to get rid of Morris, and who wants a malcontent, anyway, even if some of the rhetoric is simply posturing. By running on about leaving the Suns, Morris might insure that he stays.
Of course, talking big has worked before. Charles Barkley, who led the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals and was the league MVP that year, spoke loudly and often about wanting to leave Phoenix after the 1995-96 season, saying the organization disrespected him. Kind of like Morris is doing now. He got his wish and was sent to Houston. But there’s a big difference. We know Charles Barkley. Markieff is no Barkley.
Now, Markieff can play.
He’s a 6-foot-10 power forward whose range extends beyond the three-point line and whose scoring and rebounding averages have improved in each his of his four seasons after being the 13th player taken in the 2011 draft. He averaged 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds last season while making 57 threes and shooting 76 percent from the foul line.
Markieff was so hard to handle in a 107-100 victory over Cleveland on Jan. 13 — 37 points on 15-of-21 shooting — that Cavaliers coach David Blatt sat his big name power forward, Kevin Love, the whole fourth quarter in a vain attempt to slow Morris down. That didn’t work either.
Certainly a market for Markieff exists well beyond Detroit, where twin brother Marcus will spend this season after being traded to the Pistons for a 2020 draft pick and the salary cap space needed for the Suns’ gallant but fruitless attempt to lure free agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge from Portland.
Whether the Suns delve into the market is an open question.
What is not in question is what Markieff should do next.
Just shut up.