It’s no secret that Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris play better together. When the Phoenix Suns took Markieff Morris with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Marcus didn’t have to wait long to find out he officially wouldn’t be playing with his brother for the first time in years. As rookies, both struggled despite receiving a solid amount of hype coming out of Kansas. They mostly struggled their sophomore seasons as well…until the Houston Rockets traded Marcus Morris to the Suns to join his twin midway through the year.
In their first full season together last year, the Morri looked like completely different players. Markieff Morris finished fourth in Sixth Man of the Year voting (and should have been higher) after averaging 13.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Marcus Morris was also productive off the bench, averaging 9.7 points per game and shooting 38 percent from three-point range.
At the time of the trade, it just felt like a PR stunt to get people to attend Phoenix Suns games. After all, the Suns were in the middle of one of the worst seasons in franchise history at the time and the whole “We have twins!!” thing felt like a gimmick. But who knew it would actually unlock the potential to the young careers of both Marcus and Markieff Morris?
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mark and Marc Morris admitted they hope to stay together once they’re eligible for a new contract next summer. The Morris twins are eligible for contract extensions before Oct. 31, though Markieff Morris seems far more likely to receive one than his brother. However, now that the cat’s out of the bag about the Morris twins wanting to stick together, it’s possible the Suns consider making that happen.
The Morris twins said they’d be willing to negotiate separately, but their No. 1 priority is convincing someone to keep them together as a package deal. After what the Suns have seen from the Morri since reuniting them, not to mention the fact that the twins are so much happier together, it wouldn’t be surprising for Phoenix to re-sign them both next summer in free agency.
Is that the wisest approach? It’s hard to say right now, especially with the entire 2014-15 season that still needing to play itself out. Perhaps the Morris twins won’t be money-grubbing like most free agents if the Suns can guarantee they’ll stay together in Phoenix. Maybe the Morris twins will take the worst-case scenario route and not only want to stay together, but demand too much in the process. It’s far too early to tell, but if the Morri really want to stick together, their best opportunity to do so is in the Valley of the Sun.
That being said, it’s worth pointing out that if the Suns are unable to retain both of the Morris twins, Phoenix should definitely focus on keeping Markieff Morris if at all possible. The Suns might not be willing to offer Morris the kind of contract he could draw on the open market, but they should certainly entertain the idea, especially if he proves himself a capable starter in place of the recently departed Channing Frye.
Bearing in mind that the only reason we’re talking about this is it’s August and we’re bored, it’s far too early to be able to tell what kind of contract the Morri twins are worth, what the Suns can afford in order to keep them both and what other teams will be able to offer them the opportunity to stay together. But if the Suns make the playoffs and the Morris twins play a role in that, this mutually beneficial relationship might have a happy, family-oriented conclusion a year from now.