Markieff Morris demanded a trade last month, but the Suns are giving no outward appearances of a rift, going so far as to tweet birthday greetings with an illustration of the now 26-year-old, which strikes an awkward tone in light of the power forward’s recent comments. The Suns “need and want” Morris, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic wrote last week, so it would appear the team is making its best to attempt to patch up the relationship before the start of training camp at month’s end. Morris wasn’t planning a verbal offensive when he came across Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, to whom he expressed his demand, Coro notes, though John Gambadoro had heard a week before Morris made the demand that the former 13th overall pick wanted out of Phoenix. See more on the Suns amid the latest from the Pacific Division:
- The Excel Sports Management agency has ended its relationship with Lakers point guard Jordan Clarkson, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. It’s an unusual move, since players typically make the call to change agents, and not the other way around. Clarkson, the 46th overall pick from last year’s draft who far outstripped expectations as a rookie, is set for restricted free agency next summer. Agent Mike George had been Clarkson’s primary representative.
- Suns camp signee Henry Sims is determined to prove his production for the Sixers wasn’t merely a product of playing for an inferior team, as he tells tells Coro for a separate piece. The three-year NBA vet saw inconsistent playing time in his season and a half in Philadelphia, though he doesn’t begrudge the chances the Sixers gave him when they did put him on the floor, Coro notes. “Being gritty is how I made my name,” Sims said to Coro. “It’s how I earned my way. But getting up and down like they do here is something I can do. Here, the talent is off the chart. Even though they’re young guys, they’ve been in the league a while. You’ve got the head of the snake, Eric Bledsoe, making it easier — he and B-[Brandon] Knight. I’ve still got tons to prove.”
- Kosta Koufos left an elite Western Conference team when he departed the Grizzlies for Sacramento this summer, but he believes the Kings can make the playoffs, and he has enduring respect for George Karl, who once coached him on the Nuggets, as Koufos expressed on SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter links; full audio here).