Phoenix Suns interim head coach Earl Watson said shortly after he was named to the position, that he wanted to “nurture and embrace Markieff Morris.” The question is, will Watson’s methods lead to Morris staying with the Suns?
The NBA trade deadline is just under two weeks away and most think that it’s not a matter of if, but when the Suns trade Morris. Morris had expressed his desire to be traded this past offseason, after his brother Marcus was traded to clear cap space. But at Suns media day, Morris said that he was ok with being in Phoenix and had no problems with then head coach Jeff Hornacek or GM Ryan McDonough.
Watson’s first move as new coach was to insert Morris back into the starting lineup and Markieff instantly responded. On February 2nd against the Toronto Raptors, Morris had his best game of the season, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. This was Morris’ first double-double on the year. The change Watson is trying to bring to the Suns is a better sense of communication between head coach and player. If Morris continues to thrive under Watson, this could cause the front office to lean toward keeping him.
Watson went on to say that this team “needs” Morris. Yes, Markieff Morris is a good player, but he is not the future of this franchise that is going to be in rebuilding mode after this season. The future of this Suns team is Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and whomever Phoenix drafts in the NBA Draft this summer.
Therefore, the Suns should trade Morris if there are any teams interested. A report came out from ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Raptors are interested in both Morris and P.J. Tucker. The Suns should definitely find a way to pull this trade off because if two players would be sent to Toronto, Phoenix could possibly get back a player and a draft pick from the Raptors.
According to an article from Fox Sports, despite Morris showing signs of life in Watson’s first game as coach, the Suns front office still seems bent on trading Morris by the trade deadline on Feb. 18. It seems as though Phoenix is waiting for the right deal to move Morris, but if that deal doesn’t come by the deadline, you could see the Suns make some kind of desperation move.
The right thing to do for the organization is to move on from Markieff Morris. Even though he’s had some good games recently, Morris is not the answer and deep down, I do not believe he wants to be in Phoenix. But will Watson’s confidence in Morris lead to the disgruntled forward staying in the Valley? We’ll find out soon enough.