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Phoenix Suns Markieff Morris throws towel at head coach Jeff Hornacek, gets suspended, continues to tank any trade value

What in the world?

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Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know where to begin with this story . . . even starting from the beginning of time doesn't seem to help explain it. But way back in the ancient times, the Phoenix Suns drafted University of Kansas forward Markieff Morris #13 in the 2011 NBA Draft. With the very next pick the Houston Rockets drafted his twin brother, Marcus Morris. The twins, who had up to that point in time always been together, were finally split up. Well, the brothers were split up for one and a half seasons, as the Suns traded for Marcus in February of his sophomore NBA season, sending back a future second rounder to the Rockets. The twins were reunited again! Hooray!

The Morrii played well together, and things appeared to be working out for the Phoenix Suns. In their first full season together they played in 81 and 82 games respectively, and averaged a combined 23.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.7 spg, and 0.8 bpg. In their second full season together they played in 82 and 81 games respectively, and averaged a combined 25.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.0 spg, and 0.7 bpg. These are good numbers from two non-All-Stars. The first full season together they averaged 48.6 mpg, and in the second they had 56.7 mpg -- so there was some obvious level of overlap for the combo forwards (power forward and small forward capable players). Things were looking good. But then off the court stuff started to get in the way.

I'm not going to delve too deeply on that, but it was clear that the Phoenix Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough, team owner Robert Sarver, and head coach Jeff Hornacek wanted to salvage their lotto pick and keep things 'straight' on and off the court. It was decided that they would trade Marcus Morris away, and did so in July of this off-season. And he was sent to the Detroit Pistons with Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger for a future 2020 2nd round pick. (These Suns are just fantastic at trades it seems.) Of course, sending his bro away made Markieff upset. And he had a pretty public trade demand in the off-season. Phoenix was not yet ready to sever ties with their developing star, and decided to maintain no outward desire to honor or even recognize such an entreaty. That only pissed off Markieff even more.

This season he has been playing poorly, and while the Suns wished to maintain as much of a 'hand' in any future trade talks, Markieff wasn't going to have it. Morris is devaluing himself. He lost his starting job to Jon Leuer, and while the Suns are aiming for the playoffs, they have lost six of their last eight games. (N.B. Leuer has started in 15 games and is averaging 20.7 mpg; Morris had started in 16 and did average 23.5 mpg -- but events this December are changing those values very quickly.)

In their most recent game Morris was stinking it up, and Hornacek benched him. While he was getting off the court he threw a towel at his head coach and shared some colorful words. As Paul Coro, of The Arizona Republic / reports:

With 9:47 to play and Denver leading 84-75, Morris was taken out of the game and he threw the towel while barking at Hornacek. Hornacek picked up the towel and threw it back Morris' way with his own upset words for him.

"He's mad about not playing," Hornacek said. "I look at the stat sheet. He's a minus-13 in 12 minutes. So there, I took him out. ... He thinks he's better than that. Show me."

Hornacek said the Suns staff will discuss possible discipline for Morris, who has created a stir since the offseason when he asked to be traded after his twin, Marcus, was dealt. Markieff did not arrive in Phoenix until it was required for training camp. He lost his starting job earlier this month.

In January, Marcus also engaged in a shouting match during a game with Hornacek. He apologized publicly and to Hornacek after the game.

"That's between me and ‘H' (Hornaceck)," said Markieff, who made 2 of 8 shots and had one rebound Wednesday. "It's not for media. It's something between me and him that happened. We'll talk about it."

- Paul Coro, 2015,

That's not good. Not good at all. Today the Phoenix Suns sent out a press release explaining that Morris has now been suspended for two games for "conduct detrimental to the team." It was also reported on social media by many beat writers that Morris was the only Suns player not at practice today.

The trade winds have been blowing pretty hard for a few weeks now, but it really looks like the end for Morris. After all, unless you really kiss and make up with your head coach this SHOULD be akin to giving your two weeks before moving on to another job. Sadly for the Suns, they aren't going to get a lot back for this guy. But then again, in order to find a taker for his brother they had to trade away two other players and received just a second round pick for their efforts. This Morris brother could be had for a song. Or best offer. (Which, if you are the Suns, means a future 2nd round pick that is sure to be worthless.)

Morris remains talented, but troubled. He is offensively skilled with both face up moves and paint finishing abilities. He's young. He's under contract. And going to a new team would really help him out -- he's obviously not putting in the effort to be great right now as a member of the setting Suns. Personally, I don't know if Trey Lyles (a #12 pick) is ever going to be as good as Morris is right now. But I don't think that trading for Morris is going to help to Utah Jazz at all. Unless, of course, they also throw in two other players and want only a 2nd rounder back.

It's an interesting tale. I just know that Jerry Sloan would have power bombed the first player to throw something at him during a game. So, tell me . . . how does this end?