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Rockets reportedly interested in trading for Markieff Morris

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And it seems like Phoenix is finally open to trading the sulking forward.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Just weeks after firing head coach Kevin McHale, the Rockets are reportedly looking to shake things up even further. Houston is interested in acquiring talented, but embattled Suns forward Markieff Morris, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The Rockets have won three in a row and six out of 10 games under interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, but the team is still just 10-11. Houston is looking to upgrade its roster, according to Stein, and Houston general manager Daryl Morel has Morris on his list of targets.

Morris requested a trade in the offseason following Phoenix's decision to trade his twin brother, Marcus, to the Pistons in July, but was rebuffed by the Suns. Markieff claimed the twins were informed of the deal while they were on vacation and that the franchise gave no notice that a trade might occur. Last summer, the two brothers agreed to a unique collective deal which they believed to be below market (Markieff at four years, $32 million; Marcus at four years, $20 million) in order to remain with the Suns.

The 26-year-old Morris is averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, but is shooting just 39 percent from the field. He was benched and did not play during the Suns' 95-93 loss Sunday to the Grizzlies.

In November Marcus Morris told reporters that that he didn't think his brother looked happy on the the Suns.

"I know him, he just doesn't look comfortable," Morris said then, via the Arizona Republic. "He don't look too excited."

A month ago, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Pistons were "monitoring" the situation in Phoenix and were open the option of trading for Markieff and reuniting the brothers.

However, it's unlikely any trade gets done before Dec. 15, when players who signed new deals over the summer are eligible to be dealt. The Rockets would also look to include forward Terrence Jones in any deal for Morris, according to Stein.

Why trading for Morris makes sense

The three consecutive wins are nice, but the Rockets are still a mess. The 106 points they're surrendering per 100 possessions is the fourth worst-mark in the league, and the offense isn't making up for all those leaks. Morris wouldn't help much on defense, but his scoring prowess could bump Houston back up towards the top of the rankings on the other end of the floor.

He's struggled from the field this season, but Morris is a career 45 percent shooter who can score from the mid range and the post. His ability to hit three-pointers (33 percent for his career) could make him the perfect fit for Houston's spread offense. At 6'10, Morris would give the Rockets a player that could score in the paint, but not take driving lanes away from James Harden. There aren't many players like that in the league, and certainly not many in the first year of a below-market four-year, $32 million deal.

The contract might be the biggest selling point. Because Morris sacrificed dollars just before a cap explosion into order to stay in Phoenix, he's one of the league's more underpaid players. He's far from a star, but forwards who can score 15 points a game and hit the occasional three-pointer will cost much more than eight million dollars per year after the cap jumps. If Morris is OK not playing with his brother, he could be a steal like Josh Smith was for the Rockets last winter.

Why trading for Morris doesn't make sense

Of course, that if is why trading for Morris is a risky proposition. The last thing the Rockets need is another mercurial player with an abrasive personality. If everything goes right, Morris is a steal. But the chances of him being happy when playing in a city without his brother, not to mention serving as the fourth option in an offense, are slim.

Also, bringing in Morris does nothing to address the Rockets' biggest need. The Rockets have certainly been hurt this year by their offensive struggles, but it's been their inability to defend anyone that has derailed them. Bringing in Morris would only exacerbate the problem.

"Some games he brings it, some games he doesn't," Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek told ESPN's Zach Lowe in September when asked about Morris' defense. "Maybe it's conditioning. Maybe it's him saying, ‘If I put the effort in on defense, then I can't do it on the offensive end.'"

Likelihood of the Rockets acquiring Morris (6/10)

Morey is desperate, he likes to take risks and he has no problem bringing in players with negative reputations. The trades don't always seems perfect on paper, but Morey's paper clearly highlights different areas. A trade is probably on the horizon, and perhaps this is it.