It's been a rocky year for twins Markieff and Marcus Morris. Less than 10 months ago, the Suns signed both to contract extensions, allowing the brothers the opportunity to split up $52M over four seasons as they saw fit, and the ability to live out their dreams of playing together.
Those were halcyon days before the 2014-15 season. The Suns had just enjoyed a surprisingly positive season, rising from 25 to 48 wins, and the twins were a large part of the success, as each blossomed in his first season under new coach Jeff Hornacek.
Then came the dysfunction of this past season, a drop from 48 to 39 wins, and a laundry list of odious behavior from the twins. By the time Marcus was dumped for cap space and a mere future second round pick (as close to nothing as a trade return can be), it was seen as neither disappointing nor surprising to most Suns fans and observers. Marcus, of course, saw things a little differently.
Interviewed by Perry Farrell (no, not the Jane's Addiction frontman) of the Detroit Free Press after his Pistons' introductory press conference today, Marcus made a few statements which fit his character as we know it, and demonstrate exactly why the Suns are better off without him. Per Farrell:
"I kind of wanted to play with my brother (twin Markieff Morris) so much that I kind of took away from myself."
This almost sounds like he understands the situation was unique, one he and his twin brought upon themselves, and required him to defer to his more accomplished sibling. Was he actually ready to act as a mature adult, and take responsibility for his own role and blame for this situation?
"I didn't think I had an opportunity to get better. I don't think I had the chance to grow as a player over there. I think the opportunity is here for me."
Oh, right. Same guy we've heard the last two years, blaming everyone else while failing to take accountability. This has been and continues to be the problem with each of the Morris twins: lack of accountability. This is why he's on his third NBA team, why he made an ugly scene in becoming unhinged in his coach's face last year, and why he's currently facing felony assault charges.
It's not all everybody else's fault. The Suns most certainly did not deny him the opportunity to succeed. In fact, they took special care to grant the twins' wishes that they play together. Under Hornacek's coaching, Marcus grew from a fringe rotation player to now being touted as a potential starter for the Pistons.
"Everybody knew how bad I wanted to play with my brother. Phoenix knew. For them to trade me without consent or telling me was like a slap in the face, because of the contract I took from those guys and the money I took from them."
None of us know what GM Ryan McDonough or then-President Lon Babby said to the Morris twins, what was implied or promised, but any player who knows the business of the game knows he can be traded at any time for any reason unless he has a no-trade clause. Marcus is suggesting he had some sort of a no-trade handshake agreement (which was never made public), and that he sacrificed pay in his deal with the Suns.
As a thoroughly average, "pretty good at a few things and great at none" role player off the bench, $5M/year is not an underpay for Marcus, not one bit. He's somewhat correct about the "slap in the face" part. It's not that the Suns are trying to insult him and his brother, but they obviously knew this move would have that effect. They went ahead with it anyway for the betterment of the team, because that's their ultimate responsibility. If he and Markieff don't like it, too bad. The team is bigger than they are.
By my estimation, Marcus' statements today demonstrate the following flaws yet again:
- Blames others and doesn't take accountability.
- Doesn't appear to think much before he speaks.
- Thinks he's better than he actually is.
- Feels he's owed a level of respect he has neither earned nor reciprocated.