Wizards power forward Markieff Morris was asleep at his home in Philadelphia one morning the first week of July when he heard a knock on his bedroom door. It was 8 a.m. and his brother Marcus was imploring him to wake up.
The fact Marcus, his idential twin, had knocked was unusual. Markieff was immediately thrown off.
"Usually he would just come right in, he would just come in and tell me," Markieff said. "I knew when he asked me to come out the room, I knew there was something wrong."
Nothing truly bad had happened, but what Marcus needed to tell Markieff was very important: Marcus, also an NBA forward, had been traded and not just to any team. In a deal that sent guard Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons, Marcus was heading to the Boston Celtics, the team that knocked the Wizards out of the second round of the playoffs in May and the franchise that has firmly established itself as Washington's biggest rival.
Due to many incidents over the past two seasons, the Wizards and Celtics have a stated disdain for each other. Markieff has become a central figure in all of it between sparring with Al Horford, who injured him in Game 1 of the playoff series, to blasting the Celtics through comments in the media.
Markieff represents the Wizards-Celtics' rivalry as much as anyone and he thinks the beef should continue even with one Morris twin on each side.
"Honestly, I don't think it will change it. I don't think it will mess it up," Markieff said. "I just think it's gonna be a little bit softer than it was, just a little bit. But I think we'll still have our rivalry because we don't like those guys and they don't like us. I don't think that should change with my brother on the team."
Ultimately, Markieff wants what is best for his brother and he thinks Boston is a great situation. The Celtics were the top seed in the East last season and made the Eastern Conference Finals. Marcus' Pistons didn't qualify for the playoffs this spring. Now both Morris twins are on winning teams.
"I'm happy for him," Markieff said. "I think that was the best move for him, honestly. He gets to play for an organization like Boston. That's once in a lifetime."
The Wizards' full schedule has not been released, but we do know one of the Wizards-Celtics games on tap. They will play at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, the NBA's biggest regular season stage. The Morris family is already talking about their plans, how they will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together in Boston.
Markieff described the Celtics getting his brother as "a super big move" and added he would rather have Marcus playing with him in Washington. But having his brother be a part of the Wizards-Celtics rivalry is something he is looking forward to.
"I really can't wait until that Christmas game," he said. "Playing against my brother is always fun. It's always special."