Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said he had no clue that Markieff Morris‘ situation in Phoenix would take the turn that it did when he acquired his twin Marcus Morris this past offseason, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com. “I didn’t have any idea,” Van Gundy said. “We just knew that we liked Marcus. He was a good player, a professional guy, hard worker. We never had any problems from our end with it. I mean, Marcus was upset when it happened, upset at Phoenix, but it never had any effect on what we were doing in Detroit. He was a real professional.”
Markieff intends to approach his new situation with the Wizards the same way, Standing adds. He already has the support of Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley, both of whom relayed positive things about Morris, the scribe notes. “You know, it’s just guys that actually know me, and not on the outside looking in,” Morris said. “Guys that I’ve actually played with and been in the locker room with. Things happen. It’s in my past. All I can do is move forward and learn from it. I’m happy to do it. And getting compliments from those guys means a lot. We’re good friends, we keep in touch. They know me as a person.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Cavaliers were able to land Channing Frye on Thursday despite having less in the way of assets to offer Orlando than the Clippers, who were also interested in the stretch-four, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal notes. Los Angeles backed away from Frye because of the two years and approximately $15MM remaining on his deal, a contract that Cleveland instead views as an asset with the cap set to jump this offseason, Lloyd adds.
- The Hawks would be wise to consider signing center Anderson Varejao, whom Portland waived after acquiring him from the Cavaliers, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders opines. Atlanta needs a backup center with Tiago Splitter lost for the remainder of the season, and inking Varejao would carry little risk and wouldn’t impact the franchise’s cap flexibility heading into the offseason, Greene notes.
- Despite a somewhat slow start to his NBA career, Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes Frank Kaminsky will become a solid starter in the league thanks to how hard he works off the court, Gary D’Amato of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. “He has an NBA game right now,” said Clifford. “His biggest issue is he’s physically not strong enough to play every night against the starters. He’s worked hard in the weight room. I think in another year you’ll see him take off because of his work ethic.” The 2015 No. 9 overall pick has appeared in 53 games this season and is averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per night.