Pelicans, Suns Open Talks On Markieff Morris

The Pelicans and Suns have engaged in preliminary dialogue about a trade involving Markieff Morris, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. New Orleans has “significant interest” in acquiring Morris and would consider giving up Ryan Anderson, especially if Anderson, who’s on an expiring contract, doesn’t show interest in signing new deal, Wojnarowski and Charania hear. Morris has continued to push for a trade, the Yahoo scribes write, which casts doubt on what seemed to be a change of heart at the beginning of the season, when Morris professed that he wanted to stay in Phoenix.

The felony aggravated assault charges that Morris faces concern just about every team interested in trading for him, sources told Wojnarowski and Charania. Still, belief around the league is growing that the Suns are warming to the idea of trading him after having resisted since he demanded a trade over the summer, as Marc Stein of reported when he identified the Rockets as another Morris suitor. The Pistons are also reportedly interested, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported in October.

Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post first connected Anderson and Morris in the offseason, when he wrote that Phoenix was attempting to trade Morris and that Phoenix was targeting Anderson. That report came after the Suns agreed to trade Marcus Morris, Markieff’s twin, to the Pistons, but before Markieff publicly made his trade demand.

Sources close to the Pelicans recently told Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that the team values Anderson quite highly and that it would take a “monster offer” for New Orleans to think about parting with him. The Pelicans are enamored with the potential pairing of Morris and Anthony Davis, Wojnarowski and Charania write, so perhaps that’s enough to sway the New Orleans brass.

Morris has indicated on multiple occasions since he backed off his trade demand at the start of training camp that he’s content with the Suns, and he even said after coach Jeff Hornacek removed him from the starting lineup for Friday’s game that he deserved the benching. Morris didn’t comment after Sunday’s game, when Hornacek declined to play him at all.

Anderson’s $8.5MM salary is nearly identical to the $8MM Morris is making, so a one-for-one swap would work. Both are eligible to be traded immediately and aren’t subject to the December 15th date upon which most offseason signees become trade-eligible. The primary difference in their contracts is the remaining length. Morris is in the first year of a four-year extension, while Anderson is poised to hit free agency in the summer ahead.

Who do you think would benefit most from a Morris-Anderson swap? Leave a comment to let us know.

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