BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — Markieff Morris is still with the Phoenix Suns and said all the right things at the team’s media day.
Morris, upset that the Suns had traded twin brother Marcus to Detroit, had previously proclaimed in a series of tweets that he, too, would not be in Phoenix this coming season.
But no trade developed, and there he was on Monday, proclaiming, “I want to be here.”
As for those tweets, Morris wasn’t talking.
“I don’t really want to talk about what happened this summer,” he said. “I just really want to look forward to this up and coming season and glad to be back with my teammates, glad to be back with my team.”
The NBA fined Morris $10,000 for “a public statement detrimental to the NBA.” He stood to lose a whole lot more than that holding out.
A year ago, the Suns signed the twins to an innovative contract extension that divided $52 million between them over five years. The brothers got to divvy the pay up however they felt was fair. Markieff got $32 million, Marcus $20 million. Markieff might have earned more, but the twins wanted to stay together.
That’s the background of the irksome tweets from Markieff and derogatory comments toward the Suns organization by Marcus after the trade.
And all still is not rosy with Morris and the front office.
Markieff said he is “super-confident” in coach Jeff Hornacek.
“He’s been here a couple of years and me and him have a great relationship,” Morris said.
But as for his relationship with general manager Ryan McDonough, “you can ask him that, man,” was all Morris said.
McDonough, who along with Hornacek enters his third season with the Suns, shrugged off Morris’ comments.
“He’s certainly not the first and probably won’t be the last player to be upset with the front office,” McDonough said. “It happens. I view my job first and foremost to put the most talent on the floor if we can and to give coach and his staff a group of players that work hard and play hard and have a chance to win a lot of games. If that ruffles some feathers, so be it.”
Markieff, entering his fifth pro season, has accepted that the NBA will go on without his twin beside him.
“I’ve gotten better every year I’ve been in the league,” he said, “and I’m going to continue to get better, with or without my brother.”
Markieff averaged a career-best 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds last season.
But he might not get a great reception from fans, since he’s criticized them for what he thinks is a lack of loyalty and enthusiasm
The twins also face a criminal assault case. But Markieff said he’s “super-confident” that will be resolved.
Hornacek needs the power forward, and he believes the front office problems will fade away.
“If you’re ever in a locker room with a group of players, guys will give each other crap for about a day and a half, then it’s not even thought about again,” Hornacek said. “So I don’t think there’s any problem whatsoever.”
Tyson Chandler, signed in the offseason and expected to be the veteran leader the team lacked a year ago, also expects everything with Morris to be fine.
“This isn’t the first time a player has had miscommunication with management or any things like that,” Chandler said. “It’s not going to be the last time it happens. In our league, it seems to always work itself out and I feel like this won’t be any different.’
Guard Eric Bledsoe said he considers Morris “a brother.”
“I love playing with him. Everybody loved playing with him,” Bledsoe said. “He loved his brother. You’d be mad too, you know.”
After media day, the Suns traveled north by bus to Flagstaff for a five-day training camp. They return Saturday for a public scrimmage at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on the Arizona State Fairgrounds, where the Suns played before moving downtown in 1992.
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