Trading a high quality player with attitude and/or legal issues is a very difficult proposition. Just ask any general manager in any sport. The same will be true of the Phoenix Suns trying to accommodate Markieff Morris by winning or just simply breaking even in any trade.

In retrospect, the Suns did well to get two first round picks - far in the future but only lightly protected - for Goran Dragic with the entire basketball world knowing he was leaving the Suns for nothing in two months.

Now Markieff Morris is demanding a trade. Like Dragic, he is making his displeasure with the Suns very public and the Suns have little choice but to move on from him. Unlike Dragic, Morris under a long-term, low-cost contract so the trade offers might actually return immediate value because the receiving team will have Morris for years.

But still, the rest of the NBA knows the Suns need to make a trade, so will likely try to get him at a low cost.

How good is Markieff Morris anyway? He played 30 minutes per game for the Suns last year, and had a lot of good performances. In fact, he was often the best player on the floor for a winning team in the first half of last season.

  • Has rare ability to create and make a lot of clutch shots in close games
  • His mid-range game is very smooth, allowing him the ability to get a shot off against almost any defender in a one-on-one situation.
  • He had the best plus/minus on the Suns last year (+7.3 points per 100 possessions). The Suns fell apart when he was off the court.
  • He is always healthy, missing only a handful of games in his career.
  • He's only being paid $8 million per year for the next 4 years, making it much easier to build a team around him as the cap rises, or to justify him as a high-value bench option even if he's not a starter
  • He is one of the Suns best four players (Knight, Bledsoe, Chandler the others) at the moment, and was truly one of the two best remaining Suns from prior to the February trade deadline, once Dragic and Thomas were traded

But he also has his limitations when compared to other forwards in the NBA. Among all forwards who played 20+ minutes per game last year (courtesy of basketball-reference.com, using players who classified as C, F/C or C/F), Markieff did not rank highly in many categories.

  • Markieff Morris ranked 44th in win shares among forwards who played 20+ minutes per game last year
  • He was 25th in minutes played per game
  • He ranked 53rd in rebounds per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 28th in points per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 46th in FTs per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 60th in blocks per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 25th in assists per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 23rd in steals per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 12th in turnovers per 36 minutes (don't get excited by the high ranking - this one should be lower)

So while he is a good player on the court and has proven himself to be starter-quality in this league, Morris is not exactly All-Star caliber. Could he get there? Maybe. But I just don't see it happening.

Still, he's an asset if he can get past his behavioral problems.

Of course, any self-respecting team would try to trade Markieff Morris if they could get better in the process. And judging by his rankings, there are more than a few guys out there who could replace his production.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Ryan McDonough has talked to at least 20 teams about this possibility. But rest assured he's trying to get better, not worse. The Suns want a playoff run this year, so they won't want to dump Markieff for a bag of beans and a sexy smile. Why else would you sign Tyson Chandler if you're not pushing for the playoffs?

But finding that deal that will, at worst, keep the Suns in contention for a playoff spot, is not easy to find. Not at all.

Let's try to put together some trade packages. The BSotS staff was challenged with finding a good REALISTIC deal, in which the Suns don't incredibly win the trade and they don't give away the farm either.

All scenarios must include reasons why each team would want the trade, and what mitigating factors were considered.

Dave King's deal

What/Who involved: Keef to Boston for Jared Sullinger and a future protected pick

Why the Suns would do it: Need to move on. Sullinger is quite average, at best, but Suns just need to move on. And, he's a starting caliber guy who would soak up a few minutes a game, and rebound pretty well.

Why the other team(s) would do it: Boston trying to make playoffs. Keef a definite upgrade. He is healthier, under a great contract, and Ainge gets along famously with McDonough.

Other mitigating factors: Suns need, need, need to move on. Sullinger isn't the worst return. He ranks higher on the list of forwards than Markieff in most categories (see link above), but his problem is that he's even more earth-bound than Markieff and has been highly injury-prone. There's no guarantee that Sullinger would play even most of the season.

Kellan Olson's deal

What/Who involved: Washington Wizards receive Markieff Morris, Houston Rockets receive Kelly Oubre Jr., Archie Goodwin, and the Suns lottery protected 2016 first-round pick, Phoenix Suns receive Terrence Jones and Kris Humphries

Why the Suns would do it: The Suns should be desperate for a deal that keeps them from going under this season after trading Keef. Jones is only 23, but already has three seasons in the NBA. He can handle the ball for his size, rebounds well, and blocks shots. He still needs to keep working to improve as a defender and has to get his three-point shot to league average, but remember who he is replacing. He’s a good NBA player who should keep improving and fits pretty well. That’s a good return given the situation the Suns got put in.

Why the other team(s) would do it: Houston has both Jones and Donatas Motiejunas going to restricted free agency in 2016. D-Mo is the best post player in the NBA besides LeBron and hits threes right around league average, so I’d like to think they would prioritize him over Jones. That makes him expendable and Houston has never shied away from assets. They could use the assets provided in this deal to go get another power forward if they so choose, although I understand why they would be skeptical to any deal that makes them worse. Washington is ready to push for the Finals around John Wall and Bradley Beal. Keef gives them a very good starting power forward that is a bargain for the next four seasons. With Beal’s extension coming up in 2016 along with Nene’s expiring, they can fill their power forward spot for the next four years and still be aggressive with Kevin Durant. As for the other pieces, the Rockets need value coming back and that’s Oubre and Goodwin. Oubre is expendable with Otto Porter.

Other mitigating factors: Kris Humphries is a deal that’s needed to make this work. The Suns don’t need him, but a team that needs an extra big could use him and even if they can’t deal him it’s a very small contract for next year’s cap explosion and worth the price of Jones. The Suns are young enough and do not need that first-round pick. They have the Cleveland pick anyway if they still want a first rounder in a very poor draft. Goodwin is expendable with where he is at right now as a player and having Devin Booker and Sonny Weems now on the roster.

Mike Lisboa's deal

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris to Detroit Pistons for Ersan Ilyasova and a future first round pick

Why the Suns would do it: Because Markieff Morris is a cancer to the Phoenix Suns that needs to be excised post-haste if reports are to be believed.  And Ersan Ilyasova is not completely imcompetent and playing the the power forward position.  And with 2 years left on Ilyasova's contract, he is both movable and expiring after this season.  It's a small step back in terms of on-court talent for Phoenix, but a giant leap forward in terms of professionalism and team chemistry.

Why Detroit would do it: Twin magic!  Bad Boys 2!  And because despite his attitude issues, Markieff Morris is a tremendous value at his current salary.  The Pistons get a starting power forward and hopefully build on the same synergy the Suns expected when they signed both twins to their deal.  And Markieff is better at basketball than Ilyasova.

Other mitigating factors: Stan Van Gundy probably doesn't huff paint prior to making NBA trades.  But maybe he decides to start?  Or at least decides the reward is worth the risk in this deal.  And Ryan McDonough and company can stomach giving Markieff what he (likely) wants in order to acquire a passable substitute until their next big move.

Geoff Allen's deal

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris and the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic for Joel Embiid and Richaun Holmes.

Why the Suns would do it: Its a total swing for the fences move. Kieff wants out, and there really aren't a ton of options at the moment. Embiid has the most upside of any player you are likely to get for Kieff. And Richaun Holmes is an interesting guy with a rather unique skillset as a shot blocking stretch 4. Losing Bogdan hurts less with Booker in the fold.

Why the 76ers would do it: Embiid could be Hinkie's folly. The fan base in Philly has been remarkably patient with Hinkie's chop job, but if Embiid busts, he could be in trouble. This trade allows him to get decent value for Embiid after really, really bad injury news. Kieff is a hometown boy, and it could help him out with the fan base. Plus, SG is one of the missing pieces for Hinkie's build, and Bogdan represents a better prospect than Hollis Thompson.

Other mitigating factors: I mean, the most likely thing to happen is that Suns doctors investigate Embiid's injuries and find them unredeemable. That actually seems fairly likely. Also, Hinkie is the consummate commodities trader, and he may feel this is too bearish a take on Embiid's NBA potential. Finally, this would have to happen in December to get Holmes. Otherwise we could ask for Arsalan Kazemi, a different but still intriguing player.

Sean Sullivan's deal

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris for Marcus Morris

Why the Suns would do it: Because it would be hilarious!

Why the Pistons would do it: Because it would be hilarious! And...Keef is better.

Other mitigating factors: Well, besides the fact that Marcus literally cannot be traded again yet...obviously this trade won't happen. But, instead of wracking my brain (what's left of it) to come up with something inferior to what the other great writers on this site have spent hours on the ESPN Trade Machine in order to produce, I decided to go with a little comic relief instead.

However, rather than completely wasting your time, I will say that I strongly believe that when Markieff is traded, that Archie Goodwin will be a part of the deal. Now before the pro-Archie crowd jumps down my throat and calls for pitchforks and torches...Let me tell you why. First, Archie was originally drafted to be a point guard...that obviously wasn't going to work, so they decided to try him at shooting guard. But Archie has yet to find his way into the rotation over the last two seasons, and he has expressed his frustrations on two separate occasions to the media. The Suns have no doubt been disappointed as well, as I distinctly recall coach Hornacek saying that he expected Archie to be a big part of the rotation prior to the start of last season...that obviously didn't happen. But maybe there's this year, right? Nope. Now, the Suns have drafted Devin Booker. Yet another guard to help fill the role vacated by Gerald Green, just when it looked like Archie's chance may have finally come. The reason? He can shoot three's, and Archie can't. Adding to that, during Keef's reported "radio silence" to the media and the rest of the team since Marcus was traded, Archie was the one player that took up for him in the media, and communicated regularly with Keef on Twitter. Is Archie a problem? No. But could the organization see him as the one lingering Morrii influence when trying to wash their hands of them completely? Perhaps. At best, it doesn't help him, and when you combine that with all of the other factors, I think that Archie will be included in whatever deal the Suns find for Markieff.

Jacob Padilla's deal

What/Who involved: Markieff Morris and a pick for Patrick Patterson and Lucas Nogueira.

Why the Suns would do it: Patterson is not as good as Morris, but he's a good enough place-holder and should fit in well as a stretch four. He doesn't have Morris' iso scoring abilities, but he compares well enough in other areas and shot 37.1 percent from deep last year. The idea is that having a stretch four on the floor at all times would give Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight the best possible chance of maximizing their abilities, mitigating the loss of Morris' scoring. Nogueira only scored six points last year, but he's a young big man with some potential.

Why the Raptors would to it: Power forward is probably Toronto's weakest position with the departure of Amir Johnson, and Markieff Morris is a clear upgrade. I don't know which pick would get the job done, but the Suns have several of varying value.

Other mitigating factors: This is a fairly optimistic deal, I'd think. It doesn't have to involve Nogueira, but I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up another big body knowing both Tyson Chandler and Alex Len making it through the season with full health is very unlikely. The 2016 Cleveland first rounder or the better of Detroit's or Phoenix's 2020 second rounder were the ones I had in mind. Morris for Patterson straight up wouldn't be terrible either, as it could be an addition-by-subtraction type of move as I described above, and Patterson only has two years left at less than $7 million per, making him pretty movable.

Jim Coughenour's roster cleansing:

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris for Cody Zeller and Brian Roberts.

Why the Suns would do it: Damage control. Zeller isn't a perfect fit for the Suns spacing needs, but might be a good complement to Mirza Teletovic and give the Suns matchup options. While Markieff's midrange game is superior to Zeller, Cody did hit .373 of his shots from 16' to the three point line (Markieff was .397). Zeller does some things better than Markieff, like rebounding (8.8 to 7.1 per 36) and committing less turnovers (1.5 to 2.4 per 36). Zeller is still only 22, three years younger than Markieff. Morris didn't make his leap until his third season at age 24. Zeller will be entering his third season at 23 this year. Roberts gives the Suns another option at backup point guard to make it a competition with Ronnie Price for minutes... plus matching salaries.

Why Charlotte would do it: In the crappy Eastern Conference Charlotte might think this tips the scales and solidifies their chances to make the playoffs. Markieff is a much better scoring option than Zeller and the Hornets won't get a ton of offensive production out of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum. Morris is on a good long term contract. If they think that Markieff is just a misunderstood and troubled young man that can be rehabilitated there is still plenty of potential there.

Other mitigating factors: Markieff is a real piece of... work, but we all should have (or did) seen this was coming, especially after Marcus's little puppet show on twitter. Markieff has put the Suns in a terrible position. I just really don't see any option of bringing him back... try to sell that to the fans. At least Zeller has some upside and might take the next step towards being a very good player. I don't think there is a realistic chance the Suns obviously improve right away by trading Markieff. It will have to be a sneaky addition by subtraction/player has breakout season type of deal. If McDonough doesn't lose his ass it will be a win.

Bonus Option: The Toronto Raptors need a power forward and have an attractive first round pick coming in 2016 (the least favorable of the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets) that might even be top 5. A deal centered around that might be nice.

Trading a high quality player with attitude and/or legal issues is a very difficult proposition. Just ask any general manager in any sport. The same will be true of the Phoenix Suns trying to accommodate Markieff Morris by winning or just simply breaking even in any trade.

In retrospect, the Suns did well to get two first round picks - far in the future but only lightly protected - for Goran Dragic with the entire basketball world knowing he was leaving the Suns for nothing in two months.

Now Markieff Morris is demanding a trade. Like Dragic, he is making his displeasure with the Suns very public and the Suns have little choice but to move on from him. Unlike Dragic, Morris under a long-term, low-cost contract so the trade offers might actually return immediate value because the receiving team will have Morris for years.

But still, the rest of the NBA knows the Suns need to make a trade, so will likely try to get him at a low cost.

How good is Markieff Morris anyway? He played 30 minutes per game for the Suns last year, and had a lot of good performances. In fact, he was often the best player on the floor for a winning team in the first half of last season.

  • Has rare ability to create and make a lot of clutch shots in close games
  • His mid-range game is very smooth, allowing him the ability to get a shot off against almost any defender in a one-on-one situation.
  • He had the best plus/minus on the Suns last year (+7.3 points per 100 possessions). The Suns fell apart when he was off the court.
  • He is always healthy, missing only a handful of games in his career.
  • He's only being paid $8 million per year for the next 4 years, making it much easier to build a team around him as the cap rises, or to justify him as a high-value bench option even if he's not a starter
  • He is one of the Suns best four players (Knight, Bledsoe, Chandler the others) at the moment, and was truly one of the two best remaining Suns from prior to the February trade deadline, once Dragic and Thomas were traded

But he also has his limitations when compared to other forwards in the NBA. Among all forwards who played 20+ minutes per game last year (courtesy of basketball-reference.com, using players who classified as C, F/C or C/F), Markieff did not rank highly in many categories.

  • Markieff Morris ranked 44th in win shares among forwards who played 20+ minutes per game last year
  • He was 25th in minutes played per game
  • He ranked 53rd in rebounds per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 28th in points per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 46th in FTs per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 60th in blocks per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 25th in assists per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 23rd in steals per 36 minutes
  • He ranked 12th in turnovers per 36 minutes (don't get excited by the high ranking - this one should be lower)

So while he is a good player on the court and has proven himself to be starter-quality in this league, Morris is not exactly All-Star caliber. Could he get there? Maybe. But I just don't see it happening.

Still, he's an asset if he can get past his behavioral problems.

Of course, any self-respecting team would try to trade Markieff Morris if they could get better in the process. And judging by his rankings, there are more than a few guys out there who could replace his production.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Ryan McDonough has talked to at least 20 teams about this possibility. But rest assured he's trying to get better, not worse. The Suns want a playoff run this year, so they won't want to dump Markieff for a bag of beans and a sexy smile. Why else would you sign Tyson Chandler if you're not pushing for the playoffs?

But finding that deal that will, at worst, keep the Suns in contention for a playoff spot, is not easy to find. Not at all.

Let's try to put together some trade packages. The BSotS staff was challenged with finding a good REALISTIC deal, in which the Suns don't incredibly win the trade and they don't give away the farm either.

All scenarios must include reasons why each team would want the trade, and what mitigating factors were considered.

Dave King's deal

What/Who involved: Keef to Boston for Jared Sullinger and a future protected pick

Why the Suns would do it: Need to move on. Sullinger is quite average, at best, but Suns just need to move on. And, he's a starting caliber guy who would soak up a few minutes a game, and rebound pretty well.

Why the other team(s) would do it: Boston trying to make playoffs. Keef a definite upgrade. He is healthier, under a great contract, and Ainge gets along famously with McDonough.

Other mitigating factors: Suns need, need, need to move on. Sullinger isn't the worst return. He ranks higher on the list of forwards than Markieff in most categories (see link above), but his problem is that he's even more earth-bound than Markieff and has been highly injury-prone. There's no guarantee that Sullinger would play even most of the season.

Kellan Olson's deal

What/Who involved: Washington Wizards receive Markieff Morris, Houston Rockets receive Kelly Oubre Jr., Archie Goodwin, and the Suns lottery protected 2016 first-round pick, Phoenix Suns receive Terrence Jones and Kris Humphries

Why the Suns would do it: The Suns should be desperate for a deal that keeps them from going under this season after trading Keef. Jones is only 23, but already has three seasons in the NBA. He can handle the ball for his size, rebounds well, and blocks shots. He still needs to keep working to improve as a defender and has to get his three-point shot to league average, but remember who he is replacing. He’s a good NBA player who should keep improving and fits pretty well. That’s a good return given the situation the Suns got put in.

Why the other team(s) would do it: Houston has both Jones and Donatas Motiejunas going to restricted free agency in 2016. D-Mo is the best post player in the NBA besides LeBron and hits threes right around league average, so I’d like to think they would prioritize him over Jones. That makes him expendable and Houston has never shied away from assets. They could use the assets provided in this deal to go get another power forward if they so choose, although I understand why they would be skeptical to any deal that makes them worse. Washington is ready to push for the Finals around John Wall and Bradley Beal. Keef gives them a very good starting power forward that is a bargain for the next four seasons. With Beal’s extension coming up in 2016 along with Nene’s expiring, they can fill their power forward spot for the next four years and still be aggressive with Kevin Durant. As for the other pieces, the Rockets need value coming back and that’s Oubre and Goodwin. Oubre is expendable with Otto Porter.

Other mitigating factors: Kris Humphries is a deal that’s needed to make this work. The Suns don’t need him, but a team that needs an extra big could use him and even if they can’t deal him it’s a very small contract for next year’s cap explosion and worth the price of Jones. The Suns are young enough and do not need that first-round pick. They have the Cleveland pick anyway if they still want a first rounder in a very poor draft. Goodwin is expendable with where he is at right now as a player and having Devin Booker and Sonny Weems now on the roster.

Mike Lisboa's deal

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris to Detroit Pistons for Ersan Ilyasova and a future first round pick

Why the Suns would do it: Because Markieff Morris is a cancer to the Phoenix Suns that needs to be excised post-haste if reports are to be believed.  And Ersan Ilyasova is not completely imcompetent and playing the the power forward position.  And with 2 years left on Ilyasova's contract, he is both movable and expiring after this season.  It's a small step back in terms of on-court talent for Phoenix, but a giant leap forward in terms of professionalism and team chemistry.

Why Detroit would do it: Twin magic!  Bad Boys 2!  And because despite his attitude issues, Markieff Morris is a tremendous value at his current salary.  The Pistons get a starting power forward and hopefully build on the same synergy the Suns expected when they signed both twins to their deal.  And Markieff is better at basketball than Ilyasova.

Other mitigating factors: Stan Van Gundy probably doesn't huff paint prior to making NBA trades.  But maybe he decides to start?  Or at least decides the reward is worth the risk in this deal.  And Ryan McDonough and company can stomach giving Markieff what he (likely) wants in order to acquire a passable substitute until their next big move.

Geoff Allen's deal

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris and the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic for Joel Embiid and Richaun Holmes.

Why the Suns would do it: Its a total swing for the fences move. Kieff wants out, and there really aren't a ton of options at the moment. Embiid has the most upside of any player you are likely to get for Kieff. And Richaun Holmes is an interesting guy with a rather unique skillset as a shot blocking stretch 4. Losing Bogdan hurts less with Booker in the fold.

Why the 76ers would do it: Embiid could be Hinkie's folly. The fan base in Philly has been remarkably patient with Hinkie's chop job, but if Embiid busts, he could be in trouble. This trade allows him to get decent value for Embiid after really, really bad injury news. Kieff is a hometown boy, and it could help him out with the fan base. Plus, SG is one of the missing pieces for Hinkie's build, and Bogdan represents a better prospect than Hollis Thompson.

Other mitigating factors: I mean, the most likely thing to happen is that Suns doctors investigate Embiid's injuries and find them unredeemable. That actually seems fairly likely. Also, Hinkie is the consummate commodities trader, and he may feel this is too bearish a take on Embiid's NBA potential. Finally, this would have to happen in December to get Holmes. Otherwise we could ask for Arsalan Kazemi, a different but still intriguing player.

Sean Sullivan's deal

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris for Marcus Morris

Why the Suns would do it: Because it would be hilarious!

Why the Pistons would do it: Because it would be hilarious! And...Keef is better.

Other mitigating factors: Well, besides the fact that Marcus literally cannot be traded again yet...obviously this trade won't happen. But, instead of wracking my brain (what's left of it) to come up with something inferior to what the other great writers on this site have spent hours on the ESPN Trade Machine in order to produce, I decided to go with a little comic relief instead.

However, rather than completely wasting your time, I will say that I strongly believe that when Markieff is traded, that Archie Goodwin will be a part of the deal. Now before the pro-Archie crowd jumps down my throat and calls for pitchforks and torches...Let me tell you why. First, Archie was originally drafted to be a point guard...that obviously wasn't going to work, so they decided to try him at shooting guard. But Archie has yet to find his way into the rotation over the last two seasons, and he has expressed his frustrations on two separate occasions to the media. The Suns have no doubt been disappointed as well, as I distinctly recall coach Hornacek saying that he expected Archie to be a big part of the rotation prior to the start of last season...that obviously didn't happen. But maybe there's this year, right? Nope. Now, the Suns have drafted Devin Booker. Yet another guard to help fill the role vacated by Gerald Green, just when it looked like Archie's chance may have finally come. The reason? He can shoot three's, and Archie can't. Adding to that, during Keef's reported "radio silence" to the media and the rest of the team since Marcus was traded, Archie was the one player that took up for him in the media, and communicated regularly with Keef on Twitter. Is Archie a problem? No. But could the organization see him as the one lingering Morrii influence when trying to wash their hands of them completely? Perhaps. At best, it doesn't help him, and when you combine that with all of the other factors, I think that Archie will be included in whatever deal the Suns find for Markieff.

Jacob Padilla's deal

What/Who involved: Markieff Morris and a pick for Patrick Patterson and Lucas Nogueira.

Why the Suns would do it: Patterson is not as good as Morris, but he's a good enough place-holder and should fit in well as a stretch four. He doesn't have Morris' iso scoring abilities, but he compares well enough in other areas and shot 37.1 percent from deep last year. The idea is that having a stretch four on the floor at all times would give Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight the best possible chance of maximizing their abilities, mitigating the loss of Morris' scoring. Nogueira only scored six points last year, but he's a young big man with some potential.

Why the Raptors would to it: Power forward is probably Toronto's weakest position with the departure of Ed Davis, and Markieff Morris is a clear upgrade. I don't know which pick would get the job done, but the Suns have several of varying value.

Other mitigating factors: This is a fairly optimistic deal, I'd think. It doesn't have to involve Nogueira, but I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up another big body knowing both Tyson Chandler and Alex Len making it through the season with full health is very unlikely. The 2016 Cleveland first rounder or the better of Detroit's or Phoenix's 2020 second rounder were the ones I had in mind. Morris for Patterson straight up wouldn't be terrible either, as it could be an addition-by-subtraction type of move as I described above, and Patterson only has two years left at less than $7 million per, making him pretty movable.

Jim Coughenour's roster cleansing:

What/Who Involved: Markieff Morris for Cody Zeller and Brian Roberts.

Why the Suns would do it: Damage control. Zeller isn't a perfect fit for the Suns spacing needs, but might be a good complement to Mirza Teletovic and give the Suns matchup options. While Markieff's midrange game is superior to Zeller, Cody did hit .373 of his shots from 16' to the three point line (Markieff was .397). Zeller does some things better than Markieff, like rebounding (8.8 to 7.1 per 36) and committing less turnovers (1.5 to 2.4 per 36). Zeller is still only 22, three years younger than Markieff. Morris didn't make his leap until his third season at age 24. Zeller will be entering his third season at 23 this year. Roberts gives the Suns another option at backup point guard to make it a competition with Ronnie Price for minutes... plus matching salaries.

Why Charlotte would do it: In the crappy Eastern Conference Charlotte might think this tips the scales and solidifies their chances to make the playoffs. Markieff is a much better scoring option than Zeller and the Hornets won't get a ton of offensive production out of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum. Morris is on a good long term contract. If they think that Markieff is just a misunderstood and troubled young man that can be rehabilitated there is still plenty of potential there.

Other mitigating factors: Markieff is a real piece of... work, but we all should have (or did) seen this was coming, especially after Marcus's little puppet show on twitter. Markieff has put the Suns in a terrible position. I just really don't see any option of bringing him back... try to sell that to the fans. At least Zeller has some upside and might take the next step towards being a very good player. I don't think there is a realistic chance the Suns obviously improve right away by trading Markieff. It will have to be a sneaky addition by subtraction/player has breakout season type of deal. If McDonough doesn't lose his ass it will be a win.

Bonus Option: The Toronto Raptors need a power forward and have an attractive first round pick coming in 2016 (the least favorable of the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets) that might even be top 5. A deal centered around that might be nice.

The Phoenix Suns are in a bind. With Markieff Morris going on record yesterday to voice his displeasure with the organization for trading away his twin brother Marcus Morris, it seems like it’s...

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Just like dozens of other times per season, across the entire league, NBA players are traded without their consent and often without their prior knowledge. It sucks for the player, but that's the way it is in every pro sports league.

Generally, a player finds out from his agent about the trade. Not too often does the trading team's general manager pick up the phone to personally pre-warn the player that something is going to happen, because that GM is generally busy doing other things.

Yet, when you sign a pair of brothers to a below-market deal to keep them together and later decide you don't want that anymore, you should feel a bit of responsibility to explain why you're going to break them up before you actually do it.

Certainly, this is Markieff Morris' opinion of how the Phoenix Suns mishandled his situation this summer.

"If you are going to do something, do it," Markieff Morris said to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday. "The GM, I've been there longer than him, the coaches, everybody. I've been there the longest, and I don't get the respect to be like, 'Yo Keef, we are going to trade your brother. You are our future power forward.' I'm the future power forward. I'm the premier player of the team. ... That's just how business is done I guess."

Markieff's opinion is that since he has been with the Suns longer than GM Ryan McDonough and the entire coaching staff he deserved a heads-up that his brother was about to be traded.

And he's right.

Last September, the Suns gave the Morrii reason to believe they could play together for a long time on the same team, and the Morrii accepted a below-market deal to do so.

Asked at the end of the season if they could be broken up, Markieff was definitive. "I don't think so," he said. "The Suns are a better team with us together."

The deal was a good one for all sides, because every team needs depth at the forward spots and the Morrii had proven to be very good rotation players in the NBA. A win-win.

Even with the Morrii Meltdown last season, the Suns front office could have - should have - done a better job explaining to the twins that their place on the Suns was not solid in the aftermath. The twins should have seen it coming. They should have been pre-warned - either directly, or to their agent - that the off-court and on-court issues of the past season left them on shaky ground.

But Suns GM Ryan McDonough did not do that. They simply went about their business to improve the team and did not take the time to prep the Morris brothers.

"We've reached out to him. I have not personally," McDonough said of touching base with Markieff Morris. "I've been working on other stuff. Training camp starts in 2.5-3 months, so we still have some time."

Even two weeks later, McDonough still had not reached Markieff to discuss next steps during the off season.

Other stuff included replacing Marcus, basically, with Mirza Teletovic to be a purer stretch four coming off the bench for the second unit. Teletovic is a full-time power forward, while Marcus Morris profiles better as a small forward. Teletovic is 20 pounds heavier than Marcus and rebounds better (on a rebound % basis).

"We felt like we had a bit of a logjam," McDonough said to Bright Side of the small forward position before Marcus was traded. "We were worried about acceptance of roles, and how players were going to handle that."

The Suns clearly are establishing a pattern of communication problems with their players. Too many times in the past year they've been accused of being misled or disrespectful and of failing to communicate with players. Channing Frye. Goran Dragic. Isaiah Thomas. And now both Morris brothers.

But...

Markieff goes one step further with his complaint though, and this is where he expected too much from the Suns. He says the heads up should have included a pledge to keep him as the starting power forward.

However, as we all know, the Suns were making room to bring in LaMarcus Aldridge to take Markieff's place in the starting rotation, spelling the end of Markieff's career as the future power forward in Phoenix. There's no way you call Markieff to tell him he's the future, when you're at the same time trying to lure Aldridge.

Markieff also contends in that quote that he is the "premier player" on the team.

Let me just say this: if Markieff Morris is your premier player, you need to upgrade the talent level of your team.

Markieff is a good player, but not a great one (15 points, 6 rebounds per game put him outside the top 20 power forwards in the NBA). He's not an All-Star. Playoff teams have All-Stars on their roster.

Yet Markieff believes the Suns as constructed prior to the February trade deadline were just fine the way they were.

"I can't put my finger on it, honestly," Markieff Morris said of the Suns breaking up the team. "Stuff wasn't that bad. Phoenix is trying to make it seem like people were in there just acting the [freak] up. [heck] no. We had everything under control."

Uh, wut? The Suns high water mark was 28-20, though they entered the All-Star break 29-25. They had a disgruntled three-point guard lineup. They were about to enter a much tougher portion of their schedule, yet had shown signs of cracking under the pressure of winning. Bright Side comment threads during December and January were hot fire, and that's putting it mildly. While they were a winning team, they weren't meshing well on the court and weren't getting most out of their talent.

"[The Suns] were trying to make it seem players weren't getting along, we had a great time. When Goran was there, too. Even though Goran wasn't happy, we still had a great time. A lot of team chemistry we had all of that."

Did the players get along with each other? Sure. That's Markieff's area a lot more than mine, so we can stipulate to his claims. In particular, it appeared the Morrii, Isaiah Thomas, Archie Goodwin, P.J. Tucker and Eric Bledsoe were tight. The entire team got along well, despite frustrations by some over playing time.

"You don't do people like that," Marcus Morris said to Pompey. "The voices we brought to the locker room and how we kept the guys together. We were a passion of that team."

The voices in the locker room. The passion. The voices I remember were arguing with refs, with coaches, with media and calling out the fans for being the worst in the NBA. Those were the voices.

Marcus berating the coach during a live game. The coach benching players for getting too many technical fouls for arguing with refs, often after the call WENT THEIR WAY. Players still getting techs anyway, and then telling the media the techs had nothing to do with their losses. The players banding together and finally convincing the coach they couldn't be held accountable to stop getting techs, and forcing the coach's hand to lift the benching rule.

All this BEFORE the trades. That's a great locker room? Great chemistry?

From the players' perspective, from the Morrii perspective, sure. I guess.

But in my book, good chemistry does not mean "us against the world". Often, it felt like the cohesion of the team was at the expense of everyone outside the players themselves. Us against the world works when the world is really against you. Us against the world works when you've got some self-awareness to clean up your own mess before blaming someone else.

As the season ended, even the Morrii admitted they needed more leadership in the locker room.

"Veteran leadership for sure," Markieff said on the final day of the season of the Suns offseason needs. "We need more veterans to keep this thing intact."

In short, the Morrii's recollection of last season differs from that of the Suns.

And the Suns decided a locker room led by the Morrii's influence was not a locker room they wanted to bring back.

Just like dozens of other times per season, across the entire league, NBA players are traded without their consent and often without their prior knowledge. It sucks for the player, but that's the way it is in every pro sports league.

Generally, a player finds out from his agent about the trade. Not too often does the trading team's general manager pick up the phone to personally pre-warn the player that something is going to happen, because that GM is generally busy doing other things.

Yet, when you sign a pair of brothers to a below-market deal to keep them together and later decide you don't want that anymore, you should feel a bit of responsibility to explain why you're going to break them up before you actually do it.

Certainly, this is Markieff Morris' opinion of how the Phoenix Suns mishandled his situation this summer.

"If you are going to do something, do it," Markieff Morris said to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday. "The GM, I've been there longer than him, the coaches, everybody. I've been there the longest, and I don't get the respect to be like, 'Yo Keef, we are going to trade your brother. You are our future power forward.' I'm the future power forward. I'm the premier player of the team. ... That's just how business is done I guess."

Markieff's opinion is that since he has been with the Suns longer than GM Ryan McDonough and the entire coaching staff he deserved a heads-up that his brother was about to be traded.

And he's right.

Last September, the Suns gave the Morrii reason to believe they could play together for a long time on the same team, and the Morrii accepted a below-market deal to do so.

Asked at the end of the season if they could be broken up, Markieff was definitive. "I don't think so," he said. "The Suns are a better team with us together."

The deal was a good one for all sides, because every team needs depth at the forward spots and the Morrii had proven to be very good rotation players in the NBA. A win-win.

Even with the Morrii Meltdown last season, the Suns front office could have - should have - done a better job explaining to the twins that their place on the Suns was not solid in the aftermath. The twins should have seen it coming. They should have been pre-warned - either directly, or to their agent - that the off-court and on-court issues of the past season left them on shaky ground.

But Suns GM Ryan McDonough did not do that. They simply went about their business to improve the team and did not take the time to prep the Morris brothers.

"We've reached out to him. I have not personally," McDonough said of touching base with Markieff Morris. "I've been working on other stuff. Training camp starts in 2.5-3 months, so we still have some time."

Even two weeks later, McDonough still had not reached Markieff to discuss next steps during the off season.

Other stuff included replacing Marcus, basically, with Mirza Teletovic to be a purer stretch four coming off the bench for the second unit. Teletovic is a full-time power forward, while Marcus Morris profiles better as a small forward. Teletovic is 20 pounds heavier than Marcus and rebounds better (on a rebound % basis).

"We felt like we had a bit of a logjam," McDonough said to Bright Side of the small forward position before Marcus was traded. "We were worried about acceptance of roles, and how players were going to handle that."

The Suns clearly are establishing a pattern of communication problems with their players. Too many times in the past year they've been accused of being misled or disrespectful and of failing to communicate with players. Channing Frye. Goran Dragic. Isaiah Thomas. And now both Morris brothers.

But...

Markieff goes one step further with his complaint though, and this is where he expected too much from the Suns. He says the heads up should have included a pledge to keep him as the starting power forward.

However, as we all know, the Suns were making room to bring in LaMarcus Aldridge to take Markieff's place in the starting rotation, spelling the end of Markieff's career as the future power forward in Phoenix. There's no way you call Markieff to tell him he's the future, when you're at the same time trying to lure Aldridge.

Markieff also contends in that quote that he is the "premier player" on the team.

Let me just say this: if Markieff Morris is your premier player, you need to upgrade the talent level of your team.

Markieff is a good player, but not a great one (15 points, 6 rebounds per game put him outside the top 20 power forwards in the NBA). He's not an All-Star. Playoff teams have All-Stars on their roster.

Yet Markieff believes the Suns as constructed prior to the February trade deadline were just fine the way they were.

"I can't put my finger on it, honestly," Markieff Morris said of the Suns breaking up the team. "Stuff wasn't that bad. Phoenix is trying to make it seem like people were in there just acting the [freak] up. [heck] no. We had everything under control."

Uh, wut? The Suns high water mark was 28-20, though they entered the All-Star break 29-25. They had a disgruntled three-point guard lineup. They were about to enter a much tougher portion of their schedule, yet had shown signs of cracking under the pressure of winning. Bright Side comment threads during December and January were hot fire, and that's putting it mildly. While they were a winning team, they weren't meshing well on the court and weren't getting most out of their talent.

"[The Suns] were trying to make it seem players weren't getting along, we had a great time. When Goran was there, too. Even though Goran wasn't happy, we still had a great time. A lot of team chemistry we had all of that."

Did the players get along with each other? Sure. That's Markieff's area a lot more than mine, so we can stipulate to his claims. In particular, it appeared the Morrii, Isaiah Thomas, Archie Goodwin, P.J. Tucker and Eric Bledsoe were tight. The entire team got along well, despite frustrations by some over playing time.

"You don't do people like that," Marcus Morris said to Pompey. "The voices we brought to the locker room and how we kept the guys together. We were a passion of that team."

The voices in the locker room. The passion. The voices I remember were arguing with refs, with coaches, with media and calling out the fans for being the worst in the NBA. Those were the voices.

Marcus berating the coach during a live game. The coach benching players for getting too many technical fouls for arguing with refs, often after the call WENT THEIR WAY. Players still getting techs anyway, and then telling the media the techs had nothing to do with their losses. The players banding together and finally convincing the coach they couldn't be held accountable to stop getting techs, and forcing the coach's hand to lift the benching rule.

All this BEFORE the trades. That's a great locker room? Great chemistry?

From the players' perspective, from the Morrii perspective, sure. I guess.

But in my book, good chemistry does not mean "us against the world". Often, it felt like the cohesion of the team was at the expense of everyone outside the players themselves. Us against the world works when the world is really against you. Us against the world works when you've got some self-awareness to clean up your own mess before blaming someone else.

As the season ended, even the Morrii admitted they needed more leadership in the locker room.

"Veteran leadership for sure," Markieff said on the final day of the season of the Suns offseason needs. "We need more veterans to keep this thing intact."

In short, the Morrii's recollection of last season differs from that of the Suns.

And the Suns decided a locker room led by the Morrii's influence was not a locker room they wanted to bring back.

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