Morris twins detail their disappointment with how things turned out in Phoenix
Twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris essentially found themselves living the dream. They had reached their boyhood goals of playing in the NBA. Not only that, they were doing so as teammates, with the Phoenix Suns.
It was just like their prep days and their three seasons at Kansas, except on the biggest basketball stage in the world. Pretty choice setup.
However, the Morris twins had no idea when they signed 4-year extensions with the Suns in 2014 neither would be playing with the franchise less than a year-and-a-half later.
As has been well documented, a number of issues in the year-plus that followed led to Phoenix first shipping 6-foot-9 Marcus off to Detroit this past offseason, and then sending 6-10 Markieff to Washington before the trade deadline this past week.
But the twins never have shared their side of the story in as much detail as they did for a story published this week by Bleacher Report. Longtime NBA reporter Ric Bucher provided an in-depth examination of both the Morris’ lives and the behind-the-scenes dealings that left their dream of playing as NBA teammates unsustainable.
Marcus told Bleacher Report there are some widespread misconceptions about his and his brother’s issues with Phoenix breaking up the twin tandem.
“Everybody thinking that we're upset because we don't get to play with each other," Marcus said. "Kieff can't deal with adversity? We're from north Philadelphia. This isn't adversity. This is betrayal."
Bucher reports the twins would prefer to traverse through the NBA as teammates, but the way Phoenix handled the split is actually what left them bewildered.
"What bothers me most are two things," Marcus said. "I sat down with the owner (Robert Sarver) and we agreed guys were going to get paid more (than the twins got — Marcus $5 million/year, Markieff $8 million/year), but they told us, 'Don't get upset, we're a family, we're helping each other.' Everybody in this league is concerned about money. We were looking for stability and the chance to be part of something."
Marcus said he had no issue with Phoenix making a business decision, and moving him to create cap space to pursue 2015 free agent LaMarcus Aldridge. The twins didn’t understand why neither of them heard about the deal until after the fact.
"You build a relationship,” Marcus told Bucher, “you expect certain things."
As the feature details, the Morris twins have thrived by trusting people in basketball through the years, after a mentor took them under his wings to get them started in the sport and playing for Bill Self at Kansas. They assumed the basketball people around them in the NBA would also look out for their best interests, at least somewhat, particularly after they got the sense of a family-like situation in Phoenix.
"For me to sign that contract, I was saying it was about being a part of something," Markieff told Bucher. "A team is more like a family; that's how I grew up. They're not just my teammates."
Bucher also reports the assault charges, which haven’t yet reached trial, on the twins will not hold up, according to “sources close to both the brothers and the (Suns).”
Markieff said he didn’t understand why the Suns didn’t give him and Marcus public support in the matter until the case got settled.
What’s more, former Suns teammates of the Morris twins spoke highly of them to Bleacher Report.
Gerald Green said: ”They're team-first guys. All they care about is the camaraderie."
According to Goran Dragic: ”I had a really good experience with both guys. Everything was fine when I was there. They were professional. Maybe something happened when I left, but I can't comment on that. They're just competitive guys and they want to win."
Of Markieff, P.J. Tucker offered this prior to the trade that sent the leftover twin to the Wizards: "He's one of the best teammates I've ever had. He still talks to guys, he still hangs out. No matter what the media says, he has been as professional as possible."
As fate would have it, Markieff’s first game with the Wizards this past week came against Marcus’ Pistons. Washington won, while playing its new forward 22 minutes off the bench. Markieff shot 2-for-8 from the floor and missed both of his 3-point tries in a 6-point debut.
Marcus scored 9 points off 4-for-12 shooting in 36 minutes.
Markieff has seen similar usage in two more games with Washington since. He’s averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 21.3 minutes as D.C. incorporates him into its system and he gets used to his new surroundings.
Marcus, in his first season with the Pistons, has started all 56 games, and averages 13.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. He’s hitting just 30.1% of his 3-pointers and adding 2.5 assists.
Both twins are under contract through the end of the 2018-19 season, thanks to the deals they reached simultaneously with Phoenix. Perhaps they’ll reunite as teammates for the 2019-20 season. It’s safe to say that wouldn’t be in Phoenix.
— Read the entire Ric Bucher feature: Think You Know What the Morris Twins are All About? Think Again
— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com