Morris moves on to Motown after trade from Phoenix
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Marcus Morris had a few choice words for his former team.
Morris was introduced Friday by the Detroit Pistons, who acquired the 25-year-old forward from Phoenix in what was basically a salary dump by the Suns. The deal split Morris up from his twin brother Markieff after the two had signed extensions with Phoenix before last season.
''Everybody knew how bad I wanted to play with my brother,'' Marcus Morris said. ''Phoenix knew. For them to trade me without consent or telling or anything like that was kind of like a, I would say slap in the face, because of the contract I took from those guys and the money I took from them. That was kind of a slap in the face.''
The Suns traded Morris, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger to Detroit, receiving only a second-round draft pick in 2020. Phoenix made a bid to sign coveted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge, but he ended up going to San Antonio.
The Pistons were happy to take Morris from Phoenix. They weren't able to sign any big-name free agents, but Stan Van Gundy, Detroit's coach and team president, said this wasn't a case of settling for a lesser alternative.
''Had this been available to us before the draft, we would have done this deal,'' Van Gundy said. ''Yes, we went and chased a couple of free agents - one, we backed out as the price went too steep. One just wanted to go back to where he was playing.''
The Pistons needed a starting small forward. Either Morris or first-round draft pick Stanley Johnson could fill that role.
''This is a time of year where everybody feels like they've gotten better. Nobody's lost a game yet,'' Van Gundy said. ''There's 30 teams with great optimism. The proof will be out on the court, but yeah, we feel good about where we are.''
Marcus Morris averaged 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 2014-15.
Morris and his brother have pleaded not guilty to assault from an alleged incident outside a local recreation center. Marcus Morris tried to dispel any doubt about his future availability for the Pistons.
''I'm not going to speak on the case or anything like that, but I will be here,'' he said.
The trade again split up Marcus and Markieff Morris, who have spent most of their lives playing together. The twins played at Kansas and spent three seasons together in the desert after Marcus was traded from Houston, which selected him with the 14th overall pick of the 2011 draft.
Phoenix selected Markieff with the 13th pick that year.
Now Marcus Morris will have to produce for a new team after a trade that seemed to catch him off guard.
''The toughest part was not knowing that I was going to move,'' Marcus Morris said. ''He's a basketball player, I'm a basketball player. When I go out there, I have to perform for myself. Life goes on.''
NOTES: Pistons G Reggie Jackson has not officially signed yet, but news broke a few days ago about an agreement to stay with Detroit. Van Gundy addressed the terms and the team's commitment to Jackson on Friday, saying he'd rather lock up the point guard now than have to worry about the free agent market in a few years - with a potentially higher salary cap. ''When you look at it in today's market and go, `OK, five years, $80 million ...' But I think three years down the road, if Reggie plays the way we think he's going to play, people are going to look back and say, `That was a hell of a decision,''' Van Gundy said.