Markieff Morris is reportedly no longer speaking with the Phoenix Suns organization, leading some to ask why the Los Angeles Lakers are not involved in any reported trade talks for the 25-year-old four-year pro. Morris has indeed displayed promise during his time in the league, even averaging a career best 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds last season in Phoenix, and is on a relative bargain contract paying him $32 million over the next four years, but there are a multitude of issues that make the Lakers acquiring him an extremely unlikely proposition.
For one, the Lakers, aside from Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle, are short on assets another team would value in a trade. In the event Morris is able to scare the Suns into moving him, it is still hard to imagine them not being able to get more for Morris than the Lakers would offer even if they are clearly dealing from a position of weakness, because Phoenix would still be able to argue that they could (and probably should) head into the season with Morris and at least make a token attempt to either make peace with him or resuscitate his trade value to the point they are able to get a real asset for the former Jayhawk.
If the Suns are forced into trading him, the 6'10, 245 lb Morris primarily plays power forward. The Lakers already have a logjam at that position, with Ryan Kelly, Brandon Bass, incoming first-round pick Larry Nance, Jr, and most of all, 2014 lottery pick Julius Randle, all best utilized at that spot. The main issue here is Randle, who needs to play the vast majority of the minutes the Lakers can offer at the four, both so that he can develop and so the organization can see what they have in him after he missed his rookie season with a broken leg. With four years of NBA experience under his belt, Morris might currently be a better player than Randle, but acquiring him to play over the sophomore would potentially stunt Randle's development by torpedoing his confidence, as well as not giving him the floor time he needs to grow.
There are still legitimate arguments to be made for acquiring affordable talent and figuring out fit later, but what position he plays is just one of the reasons the Lakers should probably steer clear of Morris. There is also the reason for his reported disgruntlement: the trade of his twin brother Marcus to the Detroit Pistons while Phoenix was attempting to clear cap space to get in on the LaMarcus Aldridge free agency derby. I triple checked the Lakers' roster and can report back that Marcus is not on the team, begging the question of why Markieff would be any happier in Los Angeles. Maybe he just feels as though he was "slapped in the face" by the Suns organization after they moved his twin brother, feelings vocalized by Marcus after being traded, and would be happier in another organization that showed the belief in him to give up assets to obtain him.
There is also the matter of whether even a happier Morris is a player the Lakers want around their young core. After the Suns showed faith in both him and his brother, signing the pair to four-year extensions last offseason that kick in this year, the two rewarded them with a technical foul-filled campaign (Markieff received 15, second in the league, and Marcus' nine tied him for 11th overall), best summed up by Valley of the Suns writer, and current University of Kansas student Scott Chasen:
The Morris twins (alone) picked up more technical fouls than the Celtics, Spurs and Lakers, and picked up more player technical fouls than 17 of the 30 NBA teams.
Did Markieff's technical extravaganza inspire its own YouTube compilation? I wouldn't be asking if it didn't:
When you add to those on the court issues the two counts of felony aggravated assault the twins currently stand accused of (they have pleaded not guilty), it becomes hard for one to ignore that Markieff, even when pleased with the organization currently employing him, may not be the type of player one wants in the Lakers locker room. A roster filled with impressionable young players doesn't need that kind of negative presence.
Morris has shown enough talent and potential that he will certainly get another shot in the NBA. He might even turn things around with the Suns, If Phoenix does end up being leveraged into trading Morris, though, it's hard to see the Lakers as the best possible fit or a likely destination.