Morning Shootaround — Aug. 30


NEWS OF THE MORNING
MKG discusses contract extension | Suns still unsure about Morris | New practice center could make a better Pacers team

No. 1: MKG discusses contract extension — After signing a four-year, $52 million deal earlier this month to remain in Charlotte with the Hornets, who could blame Michael-Kidd Gilchrist for being optimistic? Such is the case with the small forward who is not only rich but wealthy in soul. The good vibe spilled over in a recent Q&A, in which he spoke about the contract, the outlook for next season and why he wanted to remain with the Hornets rather than explore free agency next summer. Here’s the scoop from Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer:

“It’s a great feeling. But I never did any of this for the money, fame, fortune, Instagram followers or Twitter followers. That can all come and go. But ball and family – that’s not going anywhere.

Q. A lot of people may not know the extreme closeness of your relationship with point guard Kemba Walker, who you cite as one of the main reasons you wanted to stay in Charlotte. What is that relationship like?

A. We always talk. I was a freshman in high school when I first met him – think about that. And then I was just a fan of Kemba, who was a senior in high school. I kept following his career.

So when I got drafted, I was like, ‘Oh snap, Kemba Walker’s on my team!’ When I met him, I just kept asking questions every day about everything. He never seemed to get tired of it. We are similar people. We’re both competitive, humble – we just click.

Q. There was a lot made at a similar press conference in Charlotte several months ago – when Panthers quarterback Cam Newton signed his own lucrative extension – about the belief that Newton can lead the Panthers to a championship. Do you feel pressure to do that for the Hornets?

A. When you talk about pressure, all the pressure I ever felt was making it into the NBA and really into college first of all. Because if I didn’t go to college, where would I be? That was pressure, that, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to go to college somewhere.’

This isn’t pressure. This is adding fuel to the fire. But as far as the pressure part? I’m comfortable in my own skin. I work as hard as I can every day. After that, it’s in God’s hands.

Q. You are known for sacrificing your body on defense and for loose balls. Are you going to continue throwing your body around just as much now that the money has come?

A. Yes. How much can my body take? I don’t know. But that’s how I play. I can’t change it. I wouldn’t change who I am, how I play, how my jump shot used to be, or anything like that. I wouldn’t change a single thing in my life until now. Not a single thing.

Q. The Hornets were a disappointing 33-49 last season and have made huge personnel changes in the offseason. Will this team be a lot better than last year?

A. I like our team. But what do you think?

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No. 2: Suns still unsure about Morris — As the start of training camp slowly approaches, there has been a pickup of activity in Phoenix, where players are beginning to file into town and conduct voluntary workouts. Of course, there has been a missing face: Markieff Morris, who’s still miffed about his twin brother being traded to the Pistons and has publicly asked for a trade. Here’s Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

Training camp is still a month away. Opening night is two months away. But being five years removed from a playoff appearance, the Suns have a near-ideal turnout in a city that millionaires avoid in August.

Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin, Brandon Knight, Alex Len, Jon Leuer, Ronnie Price, P.J. Tucker, T.J. Warren and Sonny Weems have been playing at US Airways Center since Monday.

There is no surprise that Markieff Morris is missing from that list, given his “Keef beef” with the franchise. His trade request fell on deaf ears. The other absent contract players, Tyson Chandler and Mirza Teletovic, are expected to join their new teammates in Phoenix over the next 10 days.

The early team chemistry sessions are important for a roster that will have at least six new players for the regular season. That does not include Brandon Knight, a key cog to this season’s plans after playing only 11 games last season with the Suns.

It would be ideal for Knight to spend September working with his starting power forward but a Morris early arrival is about as likely as a fulfillment of his trade wish.

The Suns need and want Morris. They would not stand much of a chance to replace him by trade. They would have no chance to replace him by free agency. They do not have an adequate existing roster option.

Reasonably, hard feelings should subside by the time he must report to Phoenix on Sept. 28. However, he was steaming six weeks after the trade when he went public to the Philadelphia Inquirer this month. Another six weeks might not help but being around his teammate friends again and meeting a respected frontcourt partner such as Chandler should help him recommit, even if Morris returns to being the quieter person he was before Marcus joined Phoenix.

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No. 3: New practice center could make for a better Pacers team — At least that’s the hope of the organization as it hones in on upgrading the team’s training facilities. Well, actually a return to All-Star form by Paul George will help quite a bit, too. But the Pacers are anxious to gain any edge, especially with free agents, and the organization is moving forward with the blueprint. Here’s Dana Hunsinger Benow of the Indianapolis Star:

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Kenneth Faried is excited to see what Emmanuel Mudiay will do in Denver … Is Hassan Whiteside under the microscope already in Miami? … Can Deron Williams be good again? … Yes, the Warriors will probably get that Harrison Barnes deal done.

12 Comments

  1. taekayo says:

    I’n glad how thongs go with MKG. I truly respect hustle players who give their bodies every game. But when he said he’s not going to change his jumpshot though…

  2. RickJ says:

    Suns not great? Really, they may not have a championship, but are the 4th highest winning percentage in the whole NBA for regular season games. And, with a few lucky bounces, calls, non-injuries they could have easily gotten a ring or two with Nash, Amare, and Marion…..Just sayin. They’ve had a few years to get back to relevancy, but it takes time in this stacked time of talent out west.

    • Reggohllabami says:

      Well, they haven’t been THAT great recently especially when they’ve missed the playoffs for 5 consecutive seasons, & I’m projecting the Suns to making it 6 straight of not making postseason. I see the Suns being one of the worst this upcoming season as others think they’ll still be one of the few fighting a playoff spot.

  3. Rhedz03 says:

    The suns management made a huge mistake trading away one of the morris twins…But then again, im not in the position to tell them what to do…Suns will go down hard again, and i feel sorry for tyson chandler…he should have stayed with dallas or moved somewhere else like portland maybe or bobcats or pelicans along side anthony davis.

  4. Robert Taylor says:

    MGK is a bust

  5. Mark from Bayarea says:

    As far as I know, Morris Twins has signed with Pheonix for lesser money, so they could play in the same team.
    I think it was underlying intention in the contract, but Phoenix Suns traded one of the brother for the BUSINESS!!
    Successful organization never play something called business.
    Look at Spurs.
    Spurs veterans think their team will take care of them after the retirement, and the organization is really taking the responsibility.
    What are other organization such as Suns are doing?
    Just money, money, money, business, business, business.
    Who wants to play for the team that does not truly support players??
    Only player such as Bledsoe who want to cash out big time will play for such organization.
    I feel sorry for Sun’s fans for their long wait to become great, but the owners think otherwise.

  6. Patrick says:

    The Suns front office has proven themselves to be a bunch of flakes. First they messed up the team when Dragic and Bledsoe were playing awesome and making a run at the playoff. That team would have made the playoffs the next year, but trying to bring in a third point guard, Is. Thomas, screwed the chemistry, then they end up trading Thomas once they realized. They pissed off Dragic and had to trade him after he said he didn’t trust the front office any more. Now they trade three quality bench players for a whiff at Aldridge who was never going to sign there anyway. He is too smart for that!! With all the roster turnover this team seems like they are still in a rebuilding phase.

  7. Tray mac says:

    Thunder Up!

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    Agree with robbie and harriethehawk, this is only going to hurt the Suns who actually have the makings of a decent team, I feel.

  9. the truth says:

    They’re not childish at all, if you look deeper into the situation you’d see that the Morris twins took a big pay cut in order to accommodate each other on the same team for the long run. Markieff Moriss on $8million a year in today’s market? Do the math..

  10. harriethehawk says:

    Phoenix needs to cut their losses and trade Morris. This won’t be a good locker room situation and the Suns already have enough chemistry problems with their player turnover. And where should he go? Send him to the 76ers. Or the D-League, Angry Ants to be specific.

  11. robbie says:

    the morris twins are immature and instable, you move one you have to move the other. They took it personal, the guy will remake the odom experience with dallas.