Markieff and Marcus Morris have been inseparable. They grew up together, played high school and college together, got drafted with back-to-back picks in 2011 and now play at the highest level of basketball together for the Phoenix Suns. The only time they weren’t playing for the same team was from the draft until the Suns traded for Marcus in the players’ second season in the NBA.
Suns management believed acquiring Markieff’s twin would boost Markieff’s game. And it did. Both players flourished last year, and Markieff came close to being the Sixth Man of the Year.
So as free agency begins tonight and rumors are swirling, the question becomes this: Should Phoenix trade both the Morris brothers, only one or neither one?
Both twins are quite productive, though a bit inconsistent and are decent all-around players. They can shoot the three (Marcus better) and score down low (advantage Markieff). Their contracts are pretty friendly too, and their Bird rights will be useful for the Suns or any trade partner. Markieff is owed about $3 million in his final season of his rookie deal with Marcus expected to make about $2.9 million this upcoming season.
Last week Phoenix drafted T.J. Warren, who will probably play small forward in the NBA. He’ll probably displace Marcus in the long run. The Suns don’t want Markieff to regress if his twin leaves, so they could want to trade him at his highest value in the coming weeks, especially if a Kevin Love package comes together. That said, it’s unlike Phoenix needs to move the twins to open up a free agent signing, and it’s hard to tell if they can trade just one of the twins and risk losing that synergy between them that was a reason behind the deal to acquire Marcus.
Chances both Markieff and Marcus Morris get traded: 30 percent. If the Suns were to acquire two of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love, the Morrii would be in the first group out of Phoenix to create the cap room to sign the superstar(s). That could be a longshot, as there’s no need to trade the twins even if the Suns are successful signing a max free agent from elsewhere.