No, the Clippers can’t afford to trade for Markieff Morris


An interesting character has appeared on the trade market: one Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns has publicly stated he wants out of the organization, some two months before the season begins.

“One thing for sure, I am not going to be there,” Morris said via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “If you want to put that out there, you can put that out. ” he added. “I don’t give a [freak]. I am not going to be there at all. That’s just what it is.”

Many believed this could happen after the Suns front office went all-in on top free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who would replace Morris in the Suns starting lineup for the 2015-16 season and beyond, and in the process of the chase, traded Markieff’s twin brother Marcus Morris to the Detroit Pistons for the cap space needed to bundle enough space together for a max deal — the Suns fell short in their quest of Aldridge who signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs.

From there, the relationship between the Morris and the Suns — at least on Morris’ end — deteriorated, leading to the point we stand at now.

With any player on the market, the 29 other teams likely inquire to see if they’ve a sufficient enough package to accommodate the asking team’s needs for Player X, but before you ask I’ll answer the question on the Clippers’ behalf: no, they can’t afford to trade for Morris.

Morris is a talented stretch-four that could be used by multiple teams in the league. Last season with the Suns, ‘Kieff averaged 15.3 points on 46% shooting, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists — if a team can look past his attitude, lack of maturity, and pending assault charge, what they’ll have on their hands is a nice two-way big in the second year of a five-year deal that pays $8 million per; with the upcoming cap rise, that’s a bargain for any player and team.

Fit would be in question with Morris and the hypothetical situation that lands him on the Clippers. Adding him to the equation would increase depth at the wing position, joining off-season additions of Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, and Wesley Johnson. Again citing the hypothetical situation in which the Clippers trade for ‘Kieff, Morris would be slotted as either the backup power or small forward, pairing him with Smith. In the instance Smith or Morris were better outside shooters (Smith = career 33% shooter from three; Morris = career 32% shooter from three) they’d fit together in a lineup as one’s gravity on offense would give space for the other so-so shooter and vice-versa. Instead, that isn’t the case, though the Clippers could play a 4-out, 1-in offense with whomever is center (Griffin, Jordan, Aldrich) to maximize spacing with the unit. The addition of Morris would also make the guard players expendable — Stephenson, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers. My guess, and a fairly obvious one given the rumors over the last two seasons, is Crawford would become the odd man out as too many cooks would be in the kitchen, and without the supplies needed to feed each equally.

And then there’s the biggest issue of them all: the Clippers best assets at the moment — second-year shooting guard C.J. Wilcox, rookie forward Branden Dawson, and future second-round picks (by ruling, the Clippers are unable to trade their 2016 first-round pick until draft night). Surely enough the Phoenix Suns can find a team — multiple — with a more impressive collection of assets if they’re willing to put up with MM.

As a reminder, no, the Clippers haven’t been linked to Morris in any rumor and at this moment no team has. But it’s a fine time to remember how badly Doc Rivers has handled the Clippers’ trade assets, putting them in the position to view the trade market for marquee available from an outside perspective.

As for some quick opinion on where Morris could land, I could see numerous teams getting in on the bidding, especially with the Suns having very little leverage due to Morris’ public demand. A few teams that come to mind include the Memphis Grizzlies (may lack the assets — unless Phoenix wants Jeff Green — but Morris as the back-up four gives them a look they’ve lacked since Darrell Arthur‘s last healthy season), Philadelphia 76ers (the rebuild must conclude sooner rather than later for general manager Sam Hinkie and adding talent is the easiest way to progress toward the end-game), Toronto Raptors (there are lots of questions at the four position for TOR after Amir Johnson‘s departure), and the New Orleans Pelicans (this team could use more consistent talent behind Anthony Davis.

With November right around the corner, the Morris trade demand, and NBA schedule release, will likely carry us until the season begins. Hopefully this is all resolved by then, for the sake of Phoenix Suns fans.

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