The Raptors remain the leader in the clubhouse to pluck Markieff Morris from Phoenix but ESPN's Marc Stein wrote last week that the Suns covet a solid draft pick. Like with every other major trade rumor, the whole "draft picks thing" opens the door for the Celtics and their boatload of assets.
Morris and the Celtics were linked last summer in several potential trade scenarios. ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton, via MassLive.com in August:
"(The Celtics) can offer Phoenix a replacement big man on a rookie contract -- most likely Sullinger, who's fallen out of favor in Boston, though Kelly Olynyk or even Tyler Zeller would work, too -- and sweeten the deal with their war chest of draft picks if necessary. The Celtics get the certainty of Morris' extension as opposed to the unknown of what Sullinger's next deal might look like."
Either the Suns are currently showcasing Morris or he actually likes playing in Phoenix again, because he's been playing outstanding ball since Earl Watson took over as head coach of the Suns. It's obviously an obscenely small sample size, but Watson likes what he's seen from the former Kansas star.
"We've gotten better every day as a group and as a team," Watson told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM this week. "Individually, I think Markieff Morris has been an amazing leader for our team."
We're certainly in the "calm before the storm" period when it comes to blockbuster trade rumors and, ya know, actual trades going down. The deadline is on Thursday, Feb. 18 and with plenty of executives camping out in Toronto this coming weekend for the All-Star Game we can expect some whoppers to pop up soon.
So if DeMarcus Cousins and/or Kevin Love do magically become available - expect those talks to heat up in Canada. Ken Berger of CBS wrote Tuesday:
"The "trade Kevin Love" dynamic in Cleveland seems to have come and gone, and there have been no indications that the dysfunctional Kings have wavered in their reluctance to trade DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay would help push Boston up a rung or two on the Eastern Conference ladder -- but not high enough to challenge the Cavs, and certainly not enough to warrant even a cursory discussion of those aforementioned prime picks."