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NBA Trade Scenario: Dell Demps might have an opportunity to land Terrence Ross

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With Phoenix all but certain to move on from Markieff Morris, the Pelicans could be that third team to facilitate a deal between the Raptors and Suns.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Right after the 4th of July, there appeared a rumor that the Suns were interested in Ryan Anderson. Immediately after trading away Marcus Morris, there were rumors his brother Markieff was going to also follow him out of Phoenix. Well, those aren't rumors anymore.

He is going to tell the Suns he can’t play for them, has too much hatred and animosity built up and that they won’t want him around.

Markieff is not calling back teammates and plans to be very standoffish when he reports to camp. He does not plan on arriving until he absolutely has to, so no pickup games with the boys before camp starts. He is expected to make a circus of media day.

He has told those close to him he can never be happy in Phoenix. That he won’t say a word to any of the Suns’ upper management and will have one word answers for Coach Hornacek. He will keep things short and simple.

If the Suns think he is going to bust his butt for them they are sadly mistaken. He has a four-year contract, so he is no longer motivated by the need for a deal. He does not want to show Phoenix any love. He wants them to know he is not motivated.

This is personal to Markieff; he felt the trade of Marcus was a slap in the face to him and his brother. And he feels that the Suns should have known this was coming, that he wouldn’t be happy playing without his brother.

Markieff is so done with the Suns that they have absolutely no choice but to deal him. Sure, they could call his bluff and force him to perform the obligations of his 4 year contract, but the cloud that would hang over that situation would be darker than any thunderstorm one could find during the summer months in any part of Tornado Alley.

No, the Suns have to ship out Markieff Morris, but obviously they want value in return. Hence, let's fire up those Ryan Anderson rumors again. Jeff Hornacek dictates one of the fastest offenses in the league; thus, it's no surprise their organization was and probably remains interested in Anderson. He would be able to open up the floor infinitely more than Markieff, and with Tyson Chandler and Alex Len in tow, they could absorb Ryno's defensive deficiencies.

Proposed Trade:

Obviously a couple of draft picks and perhaps some cash would need to be involved to make the trade work and utlimately appeal to every organization in this deal.

Why the Suns do it

It's clear as day they need to move from Markieff pronto. I think they knew neither Morrii was ever going to step on the court again after trading away Marcus to Detroit, but now that the issue has degenerated ten fold, they have to make a deal as soon as possible.

In return, the Suns will be seeking a starting caliber power forward, but as I've mentioned, their roster and philosophy are more open to an atypical replacement. With the Suns playing fast, looking to cause turnovers and Chandler/Len anchoring the paint, they don't require a power forward to play defense for the majority of most shot clocks. Rather, it's more appealing to have that floor spacer that will give Chandler the freedom to roam the paint area much like Anthony Davis as well as provide their shifty guards spacing in the lane and the perfect outlet on the perimeter.

Why the Raptors do it

Currently, Toronto has Patrick Patterson slated to be their opening day starter, as Amir Johnson has moved to Boston. Patterson isn't a bad power forward per se, but he has normally been a reserve throughout his career. He is thought to be better suited to be a role player because he prefers to shoot from the perimeter and is far from a quality rebounder.

When Johnson was in Toronto, many believed the two power forwards complemented each other well. Amir preferred to operate in the paint  (his conversion rates and rebounding numbers were stronger) and he was known to be the stronger defender. Although Markieff isn't a rim protector nor a good rebounder, he would still be an improvement over either Patterson or the recently signed Luis Scola. Not only is his scoring prowess more prevalent, his defense is more highly regarded. Markieff ranked 6th among all power forwards last season in Defensive RPM.

With the arrival of DeMarre Carroll, Terrence Ross is a man without a position and thus makes for good trade bait. After having started 123 games the last two seasons, he would be forced to move back to the bench. This could be problematic considering he has been benched before in Toronto and many surmised he might be on the trade block. Last January, Dwayne Casey decided to start our old friend Grievis Vasquez and then late James Johnson ahead of Ross. Now, with Carroll in the fold, Ross' foreseeable future in Toronto is significantly dimmer.

Why the Pelicans do it

Terrence Ross is an athletic wing player and could be the franchise's long-term answer at small forward. While it's nice to think the Pelicans will be able to attract one of the premium free agents like Kevin Durant at the position during the next offseason or two, it's foolhardy to not have a plan B. If there is one thing Dell Demps has revealed, he loves keeping all his options available.

Admittedly, Ross' career trajectory has deviated off track. Many opine that he took a big step back last year after emerging as a viable starting player alongside DeMar DeRozan several seasons ago after Rudy Gay was dealt to Sacramento.

At this point, one can look at this one of two ways: either get caught up in narratives and believe his last season is completely indicative of the future or examine his body of work as a whole and come away thinking we haven't seen the best of Terrence Ross yet and that last year was an anomaly.

For a number of reasons, I subscribe to the second theory and I suspect Demps may as well. Back in the 2012 draft, the Pelicans were very keen on Ross and worked him out extensively alongside Austin Rivers and Jeremy Lamb. Although Rivers ended up coming to New Orleans, Demps might have preferred Ross, who went several picks earlier.

As I've mentioned, Ross is a very athletic small forward. For what he lacks in size, he makes up for with his quickness and leaping ability. Two years ago, he was considered to be the Raptors best defensive wing player. It was because of these tools that led to his higher than expected NBA draft selection. Guess what? Entering his age-24 season, these tools still very much exist.

To go along with his defensive potential is his proven ability to make it rain from three-point territory all day long. He also possesses a great finishing ability in transition due to this athleticism. All of these facets were on full display against the Los Angeles Clippers when Ross went off for 51 points.

As to where Ross seems like the perfect fit alongside Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis and Omer Asik, Ryan Anderson does not. Last month, I discussed several reasons why it's probably in the organization's best interests to move on from the Flame Thrower. To put it bluntly, his scoring ability continues to become more redundant, he's a poor defender and his best position is the one Anthony Davis will occupy until retirement.

Demps, like many general mangers, is looking to acquire as many two-way players as possible. Terrence Ross would represent a step in this direction and we haven't even mentioned James Johnson yet. JJ could serve as important depth at both the 3 and 4. Remember the rumor that the Pelicans were interested in bringing Al-Farouq Aminu? Well, James Johnson could make for a decent replacement.

There is no doubt the Suns need to move Markieff Morris, the Raptors would like a more solid option at the starting four spot and the Pelicans would like to acquire a future starting-caliber 3-and-D wingman. This deal seems to check all three of these demands so maybe there is a decent chance this proposed trade should not remain some sort of rumor.