Not everybody loved last week's trade by the Washington Wizards for forward Markieff Morris. Among the reasons, if not the main basketball concern was shipping a 2016 first round pick to Phoenix in addition to big men Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair.
Trading picks isn't ideal for building a winner, they say. Many of us have countered that adding a 26-year-old athletic power forward with a rather salary-cap friendly contract could/likely do more for the Wizards over the next 3+ years of John Wall's prime than a possible one-and-done draft pick.
Anyway, before we could move on with the season and life, the anti-trade side latched onto quotes from Suns general Ryan McDonough, using them as a clear indicator that the Wizards lost the trade and worst, overbid for no reason. Here's what McDonough said on Arizona Sports radio. Transcription and summary via BusinessInsider.com.
When asked how long the Suns had been trying to trade Morris — who became a malcontent after Phoenix traded his twin brother, Marcus, over the summer — McDonough said, "About eight months. It was obviously something we were glad to do."
McDonough also said the Suns were excited to get a potentially high lottery pick for Morris, because they're hard to come by.
"Any time a player has issues off the court combined with poor play, whatever the factors may be, injuries, it can make it a challenge [to trade that player]," McDonough said. When asked if the Suns could have made a deal that netted them players and a pick in the months prior, McDonough said, "No. If we could have, we would have done it then."
Let's ignore the fact that the no GM would say he LOST the trade three seconds after it happened or that 14-43 Suns are imploding this season despite playoff hopes. We're also going to ignore the part about the wonderment of netting a pick AND PLAYERS because, and no offense to Humphries and his team option that may or may not be picked up next season, but Washington didn't part with anyone overly helpful for its current pace-and-space plans. Phoenix already released Blair, by the way.
The return to last week's trade is really about comments McDonough made this week about a different trade that went down one year ago. A deal that McDonough now candidly says he got wrong.
In the midst of retooling the Suns' backcourt before the 2015 trade deadline, McDonough extended Eric Bledsoe (cool), dealt unhappy Goran Dragic to Miami for two first-round picks (nice) and then moved Isaiah Thomas to Boston for what looks like a very late first round pick (bad).
“I think in retrospect trading Isaiah Thomas when we did was a mistake,” he said of last season’s trade deadline deal with the Boston Celtics. “I think sometimes in the recruitment process things sound better in July (luring Thomas in free agency) than they do in November.
“He wanted more, he wanted a bigger role and I understand why: He’s a talented player,” McDonough added. “In retrospect, we should have carried him into the summer. If there’s one (decision) that stands out, if I could get a mulligan, that’d be it.”
Props to McDonough for the honesty. Here's more truth: The suspect moves continued. The next offseason, McDonough signed fading center Tyson Chandler and traded Marcus Morris, Markieff's twin, to Detroit all in the hopes of landing free agent LaMarcus Aldridge (he didn't). The team meltdown, Markieff Morris' attitude change and the firing of coach Jeff Hornacek soon followed.
But, sure, let's just say the Wizards botched their latest move because that's the assumption for some regardless and McDonough thinks he rocked the deal. Using logic, it's clear both sides did nicely based on their needs. Of course, despite best intentions, one never knows what the future holds with transactions. Based on Phoenix's other recent moves, it's unclear why the Suns receive benefit of the doubt from those who mock the Wizards.
Let's see what McDonough thinks of the Markieff Morris trade a year from now.