What Phoenix Suns want for Markieff Morris

markieff-morris-tradeIt’s no secret that Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns would love to part ways sooner rather than later. However, the key roadblock in moving Morris so far has been getting fair compensation. So what exactly are the Suns looking for?

New reports suggest that Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough wants more than just a first-round pick – he also wants a solid young player too.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Suns have no intention of keeping Morris for the future. However, they also aren’t going to move him before Thursday’s deadline just for a draft pick.

The biggest reason why Phoenix isn’t so enamored with a first-round pick is because they already have plenty of their own. In the next three years, they’ll have five first-round picks; over the next six years, they have nine total first-round selections

Assuming the Suns don’t get what they’re asking for, they plan to hold Morris until the summer to see what other offers they can get. He has three years left on a deal that will pay him a cap-friendly $24 million. This is one reason why so many contending teams have interest in Morris because, for his talent level, his contract is a bargain.

Unfortunately, that talent level hasn’t always shown this season. He’s been angry at Suns management ever since the summer, when they traded his twin brother, Marcus Morris, to the Detroit Pistons. There was also an incident in December when Markieff tossed a towel at former Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek, resulting in a two-game suspension.

markieff-morris-tradeHis numbers have also been down from last season, when Morris averaged a career-high 15.3 PPG and 6.2 RPG in 31.5 minutes. This year, Morris is averaging 11.6 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 24.8 minutes.

But ever since Hornacek was fired and assistant Earl Watson was promoted to head coach, Morris has really picked up his game. In the last five contests, he’s averaging 20.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 4.6 APG and 1.4 blocks in 34.8 minutes. It seems that Phoenix could be giving him some more playing time to showcase his talents before the trade deadline.

If a deal does get done for Morris before the deadline hits, which teams would be most interested?

Recent reports indicate that the Detroit Pistons are in discussions with Phoenix over a deal that would reunite the Morris twins. But the big question here is how Detroit would use the twins since they would likely share some minutes at power forward.

The Pistons might also be thinking about how putting the twins on the same team would disrupt their chemistry. Detroit slid into the All-Star break with a 4-game losing streak, but at 27-28, they are only a half game behind the Charlotte Hornets for the Easter Conference’s eighth seed. Given how disruptive Markieff and Marcus Morris were together on the Suns, the Pistons will think long and hard before actually pulling such a deal.

Other teams that have reportedly expressed interest in Markieff Morris include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. The Cavaliers and Raptors are especially interesting here because they are competing with each other for the East’s top spot, and Morris could be a huge difference-maker.

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