Markieff Morris

Southeast Notes: Morris, Felix, Hawks, Hezonja

Wizards forward Markieff Morris was ready to make his season debut in tonight’s loss to the Suns, but he had to serve a one-game suspension first, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Washington. Morris, who has been sidelined since abdominal surgery in late September for a sports hernia, was suspended for leaving the bench in Friday’s game against Golden State.

“We’re just going through protocol,” Morris told reporters in comments relayed by ESPN. “Everybody’s body is different. Mine, I feel like it healed a little faster than normal and I’m just ready to go now.”

There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:

  • Also suspended after Friday’s altercation was Wizards guard Carrick Felix, who is less able to afford the loss of money or playing opportunities, Hughes writes in a full story. Felix earned a roster spot with Washington after being out of the NBA since 2014. His only previous experience was seven games with the Cavaliers. “I might help him out, man. It was all my fault, anyways,” said teammate Bradley Beal. “I gotta help my guy out. We might start a Go Fund Me and help out my guy Carrick Felix. He’s gonna need some cash, for sure.” Hughes notes that Felix served his suspension in Sunday’s rout at Sacramento, which could have provided his first game action of the season.
  • The Hawks had point guards Malcolm Delaney and Isaiah Taylor on the court at the same time in tonight’s loss to the Sixers, relays Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. If both are going to be in the rotation, then Marco Belinelli will be the only wing off the bench and little playing time will be left for Tyler Dorsey and Nicolas Brussino, according to Cunningham.
  • Magic forward Mario Hezonja doesn’t plan to let his contract situation bother him over the rest of the season, writes John Denton of NBA.com. Hezonja is headed toward unrestricted free agency next summer after Orlando declined his fourth-year option. “This is not going to change anything and I’m still going to be working hard on my game and still coming with the same mentality to try and get even better,’’ Hezonja said. “I’m here to play and I didn’t come from home to here to watch.”

NBA Fines Beal, Green, Oubre; Suspends Two Wizards Players

The NBA announced on Sunday that Wizards players Carrick Felix and Markieff Morris have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench during Friday’s on-court confrontation between Warriors forward Draymond Green and guard Bradley Beal.

Felix and Morris will serve their suspensions the next game each player is active and physically able to play.

Green ($25,000) and Beal ($50,000) were issued hefty fines for their roles in the skirmish. Beal’s fine is higher than Green’s because he initiated the fight. Green was issued a fine for failing to disengage from Beal, the league noted in the press release.

Wizards’ forward Kelly Oubre Jr. was also fined $15,000 for aggressively entering the confrontation.

It was a tumultuous week for the Warriors as Stephen Curry was fined $50,000 on Monday for throwing his mouthpiece at a referee in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies last Saturday. Andre Iguodala was also fined $15,000 for abusive language toward a referee during the sequence.

Southeast Notes: Simmons, Bledsoe, Kaminsky, Morris

Jonathon Simmons played his first game against the Spurs since he signed a three-year deal in free agency to join the Magic. Simmons had a productive night, posting 17 points in Orlando’s 114-87 blowout win over San Antonio. Despite the loss, Simmons’ former teammates are happy for him, Tim Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

LaMarcus Aldridge called Simmons “a good guy” and said his former teammate is “comfortable” in his new role. Magic coach Frank Vogel spoke glowingly of Simmons the impact he has on the court.

“When we put the ball in his hands, typically he makes good things happen,” Vogel said. “He’s a good decision maker, a threat going to the basket. He really attacks the rim and will get finish and get to the free-throw line. But he does a good job making the pass, too. So I have a lot of trust in him. He’s earned it.”

Check out other news tidbits around the Southeast Division below:

Southeast Notes: Kidd-Gilchrist, Howard, Morris, Payton

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rejoined the Hornets for practice today following a 12-day excused absence after his grandmother’s death, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The fifth-year small forward left the team midway through preseason and is working on conditioning so he can return to action. “He’s good, he’s a worker,” said coach Steve Clifford. “I really don’t have any idea when (he can play a significant role again), but he’s going to have to practice some for him to be ready to be play. I think we’ll know better after (Sunday), when we’ll do more contact.”

There’s more today out of Charlotte:

  • Several former teammates of Hornets center Dwight Howard are disputing allegations that he was hard to get along with last season, writes Michael Cunningham of The Journal-Constitution. Amid reports that the Hawks wanted to get rid of Howard’s “negative influence” and that some players were happy to see him leave, at least two players are coming to his defense. Malcolm Delaney denied the accusation on Twitter, and Dennis Schroder says Howard is misunderstood. “Off the court he is a good guy,” Schroder said. “He did a great job trying to bring everybody together, as always. On the court we are too different. That’s on the court. But off the court, I think [he’s] amazing.”
  • Wizards power forward Markieff Morris is making progress in his return from abdominal surgery, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Morris was part of the team’s weightlifting session today and played one-on-one games against teammates. He still isn’t expected to return to action until mid-November, but the team is encouraged by his progress. “He did everything. He did the entire 20 minutes of one-on-one live, which was great for him,” said coach Scott Brooks. “Playing against other NBA players is the next step of coming back … he’s tired of competing against the coaching staff and playing against us because you get false confidence playing against me and my staff. But it was good, he gave a good 20 minutes. The conditioning is pretty good, considering he’s coming back from the hernia surgery.”
  • Magic guard Elfrid Payton was diagnosed with a “mild to moderate strain” of his left hamstring after an MRI, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. He was held out of today’s game and the team hasn’t provided an estimate of when he might return.

Wizards Notes: Sloan, Wall, Morris

Donald Sloan has impressed the Wizards in training camp and it appears his chances of making the team are getting better, Candace Buckner of The Washington Post writes.

“He’s definitely going to get an opportunity to make the team here. I like his professionalism, I like his toughness, I like his serious approach to the game. Those are all qualities that every team will want players to have on their rosters,” Coach Scott Brook said.

Having a reliable backup to John Wall has been an issue for the club since the team drafted him back in 2010. Sloan hopes he can help the team in that area, although the front office addressed the spot this summer with the addition of Tim Frazier. Frazier’s arrival, along with the addition of Jodie Meeks, added to a crowded guard rotation, something that Sloan was aware of before he agreed to join the Wizards in training camp.

“I knew what they had on the roster already. You wonder why. Why would you come in?” Sloan said. “I just didn’t come here to make the team … I came to be a part of what they’re trying to do here. I came to be that guy off the bench to give them what they need. I came to be that guy with backup minutes.”

“If coach has something set in his mind already about what he thinks it’s going to be. I’m going to put pressure on him to think otherwise.”

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Sloan turned down several international offers to come to the Wizards’ training camp, Buckner adds in the same piece. The point guard’s goal is to play in the NBA, specifically for Washington, and he worried that continuing to play overseas will cause NBA teams to typecast him as a non-league level player. Sloan spent last season in China where he led the Guangdong Southern Tigers to the Chinese Basketball Association Finals.
  • The Wizards believe John Wall, who signed a four-year, $170MM extension this offseason, is one of the best players in the league and Brooks can envision him winning the MVP award this season. Wall loves having his coach’s support and hopes to achieve that lofty goal, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. “[Winning MVP is] a goal that I have for myself, also,” Wall said. “It’s not more pressure. It’s an opportunity knowing how much I worked on my game. It shows how much coach believes in me. He wants me to run the team. He’s put me in different positions to excel. That’s my ultimate goal, to be MVP one day, why not have it have an MVP season this year?”
  • Markieff Morris, who was found not guilty of assault earlier today, will be cleared to join the Wizards without punishment from the league, Buckner reports in a separate piece.

Marcus And Markieff Morris Found Not Guilty In Assault Case

An Arizona jury has found Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris – along with one other defendant – not guilty on counts of aggravated assault, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). The Morris brothers were facing the possibility of probation or prison time for allegedly attacking a former acquaintance.

From a basketball perspective, a guilty verdict would have undoubtedly meant suspension time for each player. With a defendant-friendly verdict in the books, both players can head to their respective teams’ training camps and likely won’t have to worry about the league forcing them to miss time.

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) confirms that Marcus Morris is expected to head to Boston as soon as possible. The combo forward was traded to the Celtics in the offseason for Avery Bradley and he has yet to play in a game with his new teammates.

It’s unlikely Markieff Morris practices or plays for the Wizards this preseason as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. The power forward is targeting the second month of the season as a return date.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wizards, Jordan

The Hornets struggled to keep leads when their starters – particularly Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller – were on the bench last season. The question ahead of 2017/18 then, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer asks, is whether or not that will change this season.

Gone are all of Walker’s and Zeller’s backups, a veritable laundry list of players from Ramon Sessions, Brian Roberts and Briante Weber to Spencer Hawes, Roy Hibbert and Miles Plumlee. In their place are Michael Carter-Williams and Dwight Howard, both of whom were attained by the Hornets at relative bargains over the summer.

Of course the addition of Carter-Williams will provide size and defense to the Hornets’ second unit but the real draw is Howard, not because of what he’ll add off the bench but because of what his addition to the starting lineup entails.

As we’ve already written, head coach Steve Clifford has already committed to starting Howard when the season begins, that means Zeller himself will be able to work directly with the Hornets’ second unit to help do for them what he did for the starting five in 2016/17.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards will have a number of players to replace Markieff Morris with when the season tips off. The forward is currently expected to miss six to eight weeks with a sports hernia. “We have versatility and we have depth. We can go in many different directions. We can go small. We can throw Kelly Oubre]in there. We can throw Jason Smith in there. Mike Scott we can put in there. There’s a lot of players that we can throw into the mix,” head coach Scott Brooks told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
  • Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan will soon have a stake in another professional sports franchise. Jordan is part of Derek Jeter‘s group that has been approved to buy the Miami Marlins, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.
  • Only time will tell how Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer and new general manager Travis Schlenk mesh over the next few years but the dynamic between the two could be worth watching as the organization’s priorities shift from winning ball games to developing for the future. Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Budenholzer will embrace the rebuild, whether that’s his preference or not.

And-Ones: Pierce, Josh Smith, Morris Twins

After announcing his retirement from the NBA following the 2016/17 season, 10-time All-Star Paul Pierce has lined up a new job. According to a press release issued today by ESPN, Pierce is joining the network as a studio analyst for the upcoming season. The longtime NBA forward will appear regularly on ESPN’s NBA Countdown and The Jump.

“I always had fun doing guest coverage with ESPN, so it is exciting to officially join the teams at NBA Countdown and The Jump,” Pierce said in a statement. “I love hoops, my whole life has been about the game, so this feels like a natural evolution in my career and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As he continues to look for an NBA opportunity, veteran forward Josh Smith has caught on with Israeli team Maccabi Hunter Haifa for a three-game tour against NBA teams this October, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details. Smith worked out for the Pelicans and has been linked to the Rockets this offseason, but hasn’t landed an NBA contract.
  • Closing arguments in the assault trial involving Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are expected to be heard by jurors today, per an Associated Press report (link via USA Today). Depending on the outcome of the trial, the Wizards and Celtics forwards could face NBA discipline, not to mention possible jail time.
  • While not every player to change teams this offseason moved to a better situation, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated identifies seven players whose new NBA homes should pay dividends. Kyrie Irving (Celtics), Paul George (Thunder), and Nick Young (Warriors) are among Spears’ picks.
  • After seeing how long it took for a number of restricted free agents to secure new contracts this offseason, a number of extension-eligible players may be more inclined to get deals done now, rather than taking their chances on the RFA market next summer, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) writes in his latest breakdown of NBA roster moves. T.J. Warren of the Suns was the first player to complete such a deal this week.

Markieff Morris Undergoes Surgery, Out 6-8 Weeks

SEPTEMBER 22: Morris has undergone surgery to repair his sports hernia and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks, the Wizards confirmed today in a press release. That timeline would put Morris on track to return sometime in November.

SEPTEMBER 20: The Wizards will open camp next week without Markieff Morris, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The power forward will have sports hernia surgery Friday in St. Louis and may be sidelined throughout camp.

A source told Buckner that Morris received the recommendation for surgery after summer workouts in Las Vegas and Washington. He was feeling “deep discomfort” and started showing the symptoms of a sports hernia.

Surgery was delayed to just before the start of camp because of family obligations and an assault trial that began this week in Phoenix.

Morris has suffered through a sports hernia before, Bucker notes. He had hernia surgery in 2010 as a junior at Kansas and missed only preseason practices. He recovered to play in 34 of the Jayhawks’ 38 games and posted his best collegiate season.

Morris was a reliable starter last year in his first full season in Washington. He appeared in 76 games, averaging 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per night while shooting 36% from 3-point range. A first-round pick of the Suns in 2011, Morris was dealt to the Wizards at the 2016 trade deadline.

And-Ones: Morris Trial, Kyrie, Pelicans, NCAA

The trial for Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, who are accused of aggravated assault, got underway today in Phoenix, writes Terell Wilkins of The Arizona Republic. Jury selection for the trial, which will take place in Maricopa County Superior Court, concluded on Wednesday, and opening statements will be delivered on Monday, per an Associated Press report (link via ESPN.com).

The trial will be worth watching for fans of the Celtics and Wizards, since the Morris brothers would face suspensions from the NBA if they’re convicted — a violent felony results in at least a 10-game ban. Even if the Morris brothers reach plea deals, they could be subject to discipline from the league, with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement empowering commissioner Adam Silver to decide on an appropriate suspension in that scenario.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • While many NBA observers were dumbfounded by Kyrie Irving‘s trade request, Warriors forward Draymond Green suggests he gained a newfound respect for Irving, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post details. “I don’t think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that,” Green said. “He’s basically saying, ‘I’m ready to deliver.’ That’s big. That says a lot.”
  • The Pelicans have renounced their draft rights to 2011 second-rounder Ater Majok, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions. New Orleans now holds the draft rights to just one non-NBA player — big man Latavious Williams.
  • The relationship between the NCAA and the NBA wasn’t always strong during David Stern‘s days as commissioner, but Adam Silver has struck a more conciliatory tone, and that’s beginning to show, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN. As Givony explains, the invite list for a recent student-athlete symposium suggests the NCAA’s philosophy on preparing underclassmen for the NBA is evolving.
  • Using the NBA’s response to its DNP-Rest issue as a jumping-off point, Tom Ziller of SBNation.com makes the case that the league is too focused on marketing a small handful of star players, and ought to make an effort to showcase more stars in nationally televised games.
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