We’ve heard of stories of owners trading for players hoping they miraculously work out. There has also been stories of owners trading for players after seeing suggestions on message boards. This time, family and former coaching was motivation for a trade.
Jere Longman of The New York Times reports that Phoenix Suns player Markieff Morris and Bill Self, head basketball coach at the University of Kansas, both urged the Suns front office to trade for Markieff’s brother Marcus Morris:
Alvin Gentry, who was fired as the Suns’ coach in January, said that last season, Markieff Morris kept urging Phoenix to trade for his brother. And Gentry said that Bill Self, the Kansas coach, told him: “You need Marcus. If you can get him, he’ll make Markieff work harder.”
Known for selecting the lesser brother in drafting Robin Lopez after Brook Lopez, the Suns selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. One pick later, the Houston Rockets selected Marcus Morris.
Over the course of one and a half season, the twins’ play has been close to equal with their respective franchises. Now on the same team, Marcus’ stats have declined, including a drop in points, field goal percentage, minutes, and rebounds.
As far as the motivation goes and the trade causing Markeiff to become a better player, his numbers have been steady: 16 games, 8.6 points, 5.6 rebounds on 39.3 percent shooting in 25 minutes a game. But, obviously work effort can’t be found on a stat sheet. It’s something the coaches likely see every day in practice, and the competitive spirit between siblings is one that can’t be rightfully accounted for.
The way in which the trade was approached was weird, but if it works out in the future, maybe Markieff will be looked at for a front office job.