Disgruntled Markieff Morris tosses towel at Suns coach, earns 2-game suspension
It doesn’t look like Markieff Morris and Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek will be exchanging Christmas cards this year.
Upset Wednesday night when his coach subbed him out of the game in the fourth quarter of what would become another Suns loss, Morris threw a towel toward Hornacek while yelling at him, according to the Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro. Hornacek then picked up the towel and threw it back in the direction of Morris with a counter of “his own upset words.”
A former star at Kansas, Morris has fallen out of favor with Phoenix’s coach of late, playing far fewer minted than expected after a breakthrough season a year ago (career highs of 15.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 31.5 minutes, 82 starts).
Morris logged just 12 minutes in the loss to Denver that now may mark the tipping point in what already had become a soured relationship between the 6-foot-10 forward and the organization that drafted him.
“He’s mad about not playing,” Hornacek said in Coro’s report. “I look at the stat sheet. He’s a minus-13 in 12 minutes. So there, I took him out. … He thinks he’s better than that. Show me.”
Morris first became disgruntled with the Suns organization this past summer, when the team traded his twin brother Marcus to Detroit unexpectedly. He publicly said he wanted Phoenix to trade him, too, as a result and the more the season goes on the more inevitable that endgame seems.
After starting 16 games for the Suns this season, Morris since has lost his starting job and now finds himself behind Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic in Hornacek’s rotation.
Following Morris’ run-in with the head coach — incidentally, Hornacek also got in a shouting match with Marcus Morris nearly a year ago — Markieff was suspended two games by the Suns on Christmas Eve, according to Yahoo.
As for Morris’ response Wednesday night regarding the tossed towel?
“That’s between me and ‘H’ (Hornaceck),” Morris told the Arizona Republic. “It’s not for media. It’s something between me and him that happened. We’ll talk about it.”
After not playing a single minute in 7 of the previous 9 games, Morris has played sparingly in Phoenix’s last 4 outings. The fifth-year forward logged 17 minutes in his return to action, a win at New Orleans (one of the teams rumored to be interested in trading for him), and scored 13 points. He scored 8 points in 15 minutes versus Milwaukee, 4 points in 21 minutes at Utah and 6 points in 12 minutes vs. Denver.
Morris’ name already was one of the biggest swirling in NBA trade rumors. Now his departure from Phoenix (12-19) seems inevitable.
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