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Suns lottery pick Morris in talks with Greek team

Aug 10, 2011, 10:40 AM EDT

Morris stands with NBA Commissioner Stern after being selected by the Suns as the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark Reuters

There are a few reasons to wonder if he will ever sign on the line that is dotted, but if nothing else this shows just how pervasive NBA players talking with overseas teams has become.

Suns lottery pick Markieff Morris is in negotiations to join Panthianakos of the Greek league, according to Marc Spears at Yahoo. Morris is a 6’10” power forward out of Kansas.

I have no doubt the talks are taking place (his agent Tony Dutt has said he is looking at overseas options for all his clients). I do have doubts that it ever gets finalized, for a couple of reasons.

One, Greek teams not exactly flush with money as their country’s economy is trying to drag the whole of Europe back into recession. They are not big spenders on the free agent market right now like they have been in previous years.

Secondly, this is a big risk for Morris. He is a first round pick, a lottery pick, which means three years of guaranteed good NBA money. Last year’s No. 13 overall pick, Ed Davis (to Toronto), made $1.9 million this past year with the Rockets. We don’t know what Panthianakos is offering, but you can be sure it is less than $1.9 million.

And if something goes wrong in Greece for Morris, if he gets injured, his NBA money and dreams can disappear. He does not have an NBA deal, he has nothing, and the Suns don’t have to sign him.

For a second round pick, a guy not guaranteed an NBA roster spot, going to Europe to get a paycheck makes sense. For a first round pick? Well, these are unprecedented times, so who knows, but don’t bet on this one.

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