Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby negotiated a total figure for Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris with agent Leon Rose, letting the twins decide how to split what turned out to be a $52MM pot, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic chronicles.
“They’re very close and we didn’t want to suggest anything that would be a disconnect to what they thought their value was,” Babby said. “I didn’t delegate the whole project to them but I did ask, ‘How would you divide it up?’ They’re so close and in it together that it was better to negotiate the total amount and then go to them for how to divide it. They desperately wanted to be together and they play better together. They motivate each other and it’s been fun for me to watch their maturation.”
There’s more from Coro’s piece amid the latest from the Valley of the Sun:
- It would have been harder for the Morris brothers to stay together if they had hit restricted free agency next summer, GM Ryan McDonough said today, according to Coro, who writes in the same piece. That suggests the team pressured the twins to sign their extensions rather than let the October 31st deadline pass.
- There are no option clauses or trade kickers in the deals for the Morrises, whose salaries will escalate each year, Coro adds.
- Bledsoe largely repeated to reporters, including Coro, his assertion from the team’s statement on his new deal that he preferred to return to the Suns all summer, in spite of tense public negotiations (Twitter link).
- Zoran Dragic was just a part-timer starter for his Spanish team the past two seasons, but McDonough is confident the new Suns signee’s game is on the upswing, as the exec tells Matt Petersen of Suns.com. “Guys mature and develop at different rates,” McDonough said. “Zoran is a bit of a late-bloomer, but I’ve seen rapid improvement lately. He was better when I saw him last year in Slovenia than what I’d ever seen before. He took another step and was even better this year in Spain than what I’d seen before.”
- Suns owner Robert Sarver is calling for a new arena to replace the existing building, which opened in 1992, as Coro relays in a separate piece.