Markieff Morris has made it abundantly clear that he wants out of Phoenix over the past week and now has named the two places he would like to be traded to.
So, where does Morris want to play?
Toronto and Houston are his top two choices according to John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports though he really doesn’t care as long as it is not in Phoenix.
“He likes Houston because of James Harden and Toronto because of Kyle Lowry, but he honestly doesn’t care where he gets dealt as long as he is not wearing a Suns uniform.
He is going to tell the Suns he can’t play for them, has too much hatred and animosity built up and that they won’t want him around.
“Markieff is not calling back teammates and plans to be very standoffish when he reports to camp. He does not plan on arriving until he absolutely has to, so no pickup games with the boys before camp starts. He is expected to make a circus of media day.
“He has told those close to him he can never be happy in Phoenix. That he won’t say a word to any of the Suns’ upper management and will have one word answers for Coach Hornacek. He will keep things short and simple.”
Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk is reporting that the Raptors and Rockets would make sense on a number of levels.
“Both teams have several solid assets to construct a deal, making it more likely to find a workable package. They also could both use another talented power forward,” Feldman wrote.
Toronto is currently thin in the frontcourt as the Raptors are projected to start Jonas Valanciunas at center and Patrick Patterson at power forward. Luis Scola and Bismack Biyombo are currently slated to be the backups as both can play the 4 and 5. Youngsters Lucas Nogueira and Ronald Roberts will also vie for playing time during training camp, though Toronto could also use DeMarre Carroll or James Johnson at power forward if they decide to play small ball.
Both Houston and Toronto are expected to contend for their respective conference titles this upcoming season.
The problem for the Raptors, per Sportsnet Canada, would be what Phoenix would ask for in return.
“Speaking of the asking price, a trade between the clubs would almost certainly have to involve Patterson, considering the Suns’ lack of depth up front. Behind veteran center Tyson Chandler and promising young big Alex Len, Morris is Phoenix’s only productive power forward. Playing Mirza Teletovic, and Jon Leuer is not going to cut it in an ultra-competitive Western Conference.
“The Raptors would miss Patterson’s defence and mobility, not to mention his 37 percent shooting from three-point range to space out opposing defences. Going by net rating, which subtracts defensive rating from offensive rating, Patterson posted a mark of 5.3 to Morris’s 2.2 in 2014-15, per NBA.com. In a starting role, Patterson could be primed for a breakout season.”
Here is the thing, Phoenix really doesn’t have any designs on contending this year, plus the Suns don’t have any real leverage. While Patterson would be a nice coup for the Suns in a trade they may be willing to take a package of Terrence Ross, Johnson, and Nogueira.
Ross is coming off a challenging season. He averaged 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 25.5 minutes of action. Ross shot 41.0 percent from the field, though he did knock down 37.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
Ross possesses elite athleticism, but needs to be more consistent on both ends of the floor. While Ross added 1.76 points to the Raptors per 100 possessions when he was on offense, he ended last season as the worst defensive small forward according to ESPN’s stats. The Raptors gave up 3.77 more points per 100 possessions when Ross was on the court then when he wasn’t. His real plus/minus rating of -2.01 ranked him in the bottom three amongst all small forwards that appeared in at least 80 games. Ross, Johnson, and Nogueira all are on the last year of their deals.
Houston is also a little thin in the frontcourt, though they are in a better situation than Toronto. The Rockets, of course, have Dwight Howard at center while Terrence Jones is slated to start at power forward. Donatas Motiejunas, Clint Capella, Chuck Hayes, and Montrezl Harrell round out the rotation.
The problem for Houston, as ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton pointed out, is that the Rockets don’t have the salaries to match Morris’ in a trade. In order for something to work out between the two teams,
Houston would have to send a package that would includes Jones, Montiejunas, and either Capella or Harrell plus one of their trade exceptions. Phoenix would likely take K.J. McDaniels instead of Capella or Montiejunas, but he is not eligible to be traded until mid-December.
Pelton also believes that Boston, Charlotte, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland could also bid on the maligned power forward. Pelton listed what teams would have to give up in order to obtain Morris.
Boston would have to offer Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger, and James Young along with possible draft considerations to make a deal work.
Charlotte could offer Brian Roberts and Tyler Zeller.
Los Angeles would, like Boston, would have to offer three-for-one deal. The Lakers likely would have to send Jabari Brown, Ryan Kelly, and Julius Randle to Phoenix for the trade to work.
Portland could trade Noah Vonleh for Morris straight up, but that likely won’t happen.
Out of the deals, its likely Toronto and Boston probably make the most sense for both parties. The Lakers and Trail Blazers scenarios don’t make sense as it is hard to imagine Los Angeles including Randle, and Phoenix doing a straight-up deal for Vonleh.
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