Morris twins hope to continue to play together

The Morris twins - Marcus (left) and Markieff (seated right) of the Phoenix Suns - sponsored a charity event at the Hunting Park Recreation Center.
The Morris twins - Marcus (left) and Markieff (seated right) of the Phoenix Suns - sponsored a charity event at the Hunting Park Recreation Center. (RON TARVER / Staff)
Posted: August 18, 2014

Markieff and Marcus Morris smiled Saturday while they signed autographs at the Hunting Park Recreation Center in North Philadelphia. The twin forwards for the Phoenix Suns were sponsoring a back-to-school charity event, giving away 200 backpacks to students ages 5 to 15.

The twins are happier when they're together. The Philadelphia natives played on the same teams growing up, in high school at Prep Charter and in college at Kansas. But they were separated early in their NBA careers when they were selected one pick apart in the 2011 NBA draft, until Marcus joined Markieff in Phoenix via a trade from the Houston Rockets in February 2013.

They've been living a dream ever since. On the court, the twins' synergy is evident. The 24-year-olds both showed improvement in the 2013-14 season, setting career highs in scoring in their third season in the league.

Markieff scored 13.8 points and collected 6.0 rebounds per game, leading to a fourth-place finish in the voting for the league's sixth-man-of-the-year award. Marcus scored 9.7 points per game and averaged 3.9 rebounds. The Suns, predicted by many to end up in the Western Conference cellar, finished just one game out of a playoff spot.

Off the court, the twins are inseparable.

"Wherever we're together, it's home," Markieff said. "We just go out there and have fun. The game isn't the same when we're apart."

But soon, they will arrive at a crossroads. Their rookie deals expire after the 2014-15 season and free agency will present challenges. The twins want to stay together, but will an NBA team accommodate them?

"It's a unique situation," Marcus said. "We're just trying to do enough so teams can see us as players, as players, and as a tandem."

The twins aren't necessarily tied together during free agency. They haven't yet contemplated specific destinations and said they haven't considered a return to Philadelphia. Marcus said they would be willing to negotiate separately if the need arises, but the top priority is to make teams eager to sign both players.

They can help do that this season by accomplishing their goal of helping the Suns make the playoffs. But after that, the pursuit of their long-term goal will continue.

"That was our dream growing up - it's our life dream to play with each other in the NBA," Marcus said. "We're together now. We try to make the best of it. Hopefully, we retire together."

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