New Celtic Marcus Morris and his twin brother Markieff have a trial date set for August 21, 2017. Boston.com’s Nik DeCosta-Klipa issued a solid overview of the pending case.
The piece reaches back to the events in question, which allegedly took place in January of 2015 in Phoenix, while both players were still members of the Phoenix Suns.
Reports of the details have worked their way into the public sphere over the last two years and the full picture is not available. The Morris twins’ deny of any wrongdoing which conflicts with police reports and witness testimony.
The events in question surround an alleged beating after a youth basketball game and a text message reportedly sent to the Morrisses’ mother. Erik Hood, a Phoenix resident who claims that he has a relationship with the twins (which the Morris family denies), was purportedly assaulted at a local recreation center.
Much of what Hood reported to police is recounted in this article from the Arizona Republic that was published in April.
The brothers are each charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault and, according to a Sports Illustrated post by Michael McCann earlier this month, could face jail time up to 3.75 years should either or both twins be convicted. McCann also points out that neither brother has an extensive criminal history—although Marcus was involved in an altercation in a Kansas nightclub in 2012, for which he received a misdemeanor citation.
There could also be an NBA suspension on the table. McCann’s piece cites the current CBA:
If the Morris twins instead reach plea deals with prosecutors and plead guilty to misdemeanors—such as misdemeanor assault—they could avoid prison sentences. They would also no longer face punishments under Article VI since they would not be responsible for committing “violent felonies.”
The Morris twins would still, however, be eligible for NBA punishment under Article 35 of the league Constitution. Article 35 empowers NBA commissioner Adam Silver to suspend players for any “conduct that does not conform to standards of morality or fair play, that does not comply at all times with all federal, state, and local laws, or that is prejudicial or detrimental to the NBA.” Pleading guilty to a misdemeanor makes an NBA player vulnerable to punishment under Article 35.
The late-summer trial should not, at least for now, conflict with the Celtics’ training camp (September) or the beginning of the regular season (mid-October). However, Darren Collison received an eight-game suspension last year (handed down by Silver under the same article) for pleading guilty to domestic battery.