“My frustration got the best of me last night,” Morris wrote. “It won’t happen again. I apologize to Jeff. My teammates told me I hit coach with the towel. In no way was that towel intended for him. I just want to help my team win so much. That’s my focus moving forward.”
1:26pm: The Suns have confirmed the suspension (Twitter link), citing “conduct detrimental to the team.” Morris will miss games against the Sixers and Cavs.
1:05am: The trade value of Markieff Morris is such that teams are asking the Suns to attach another player or asset to him in any proposal, tweets Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, using Archie Goodwin‘s name as an example of the sort of add-on other teams want. The Wednesday towel-toss that marked the latest chapter in a back-and-forth relationship between Morris and the Suns has prompted the team to issue an unpaid two-game suspension, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. It’ll cost him $145,455 out of his $8MM salary, Charania notes. Morris threw a towel in the direction of coach Jeff Hornacek, who tossed it back as the pair engaged in an argument during Wednesday’s game, though Morris told teammates he didn’t mean for the towel, which connected with Hornacek’s leg, to hit the coach, Charania hears.
The Suns are unlikely to agree to give up value on top of Morris in a trade, Lowe says, though the power forward is “very available” on the trade market, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported last week, when he added that talks with the Rockets about trading Morris to Houston, which Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops originally revealed, have been serious. It’s unclear whether the Rockets or another Morris suitor, like the Pelicans, have spoken to the Suns about Goodwin or if Lowe was merely using him as a hypothetical. Goodwin, making about $1.16MM in year three of his rookie scale contract, has only played 41 total minutes in December.
Phoenix has lost three in a row and six of eight, and the Suns are four games in the loss column behind eighth place in the Western Conference. Morris, who backed off a summer trade demand when he showed up at training camp, lost his starting job earlier this month and disappeared from the rotation entirely before re-emerging to average 16.3 minutes per game over Phoenix’s last four contests. All of the Suns players were present for practice today except Morris, who deflected a question last week about whether he wanted to be traded, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
What do you think the Suns can reasonably get in exchange for Morris? Leave a comment to share your ideas.