LOS ANGELES – When word surfaced last week that Kyrie Irving had requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, one thought raced through Markieff Morris’ head.

“I was just hoping I was getting traded with him,” Morris said Wednesday after the Mavericks’ shootaround at Crypto.com Arena.

His desires were fulfilled Monday when the Mavericks pulled the trigger on the Irving deal. Both players will make their Mavericks’ debut tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.

For Morris, the hope is that he gets a chance to play. In 27 games with the Nets, the 6-9 forward averaged career lows in minutes (10.6), points (3.6) and rebounds (2.2). That lack of activity has taken its toll, he said.

“I wasn’t in and out of the rotation, I wasn’t in the rotation,” he said with a laugh. “So I am a little out of shape. I’m in shape, but not in top, top basketball shape. These next five games before the break are going to help me get into shape and then this little break we got with the All-Star break is going to take me over the top.

“I just wanted (to be) somewhere where I could have an opportunity to play. I didn’t really play in Brooklyn. There was a lot going on. I just want to play basketball. So that’s how I felt. So I was hoping I’d be traded with him.”

Morris, 33, is only three seasons removed from averaging 9.7 points with Detroit and the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played for Jason Kidd, who was a Lakers’ assistant coach at the time.

Then after spending 2021-22 with Miami, Morris signed with the Nets as a free agent.

While he didn’t play a lot there, he did learn to appreciate Irving’s abilities.

Asked how the pairing of Irving and Luka Dončić would work, Morris said the blueprint has already been given to the Mavericks.

“It’s going to work how it worked in Brooklyn, the same way when he played with KD (Kevin Durant),” Morris said. “We would damn near scratch off 60 points a game just between those two. It’s exciting. There’s enough basketballs to go around for those two, by far.”

More specifically, he said Irving brings everything to the table on the court.

“You’ll see the rest of the season,” Morris said. “It’s exciting. I was able to see it up close this year and there’s nothing like seeing it up close (rather) than on TV. It’s crazy.

“Probably for me, other than LeBron obviously, he’s the best player I’ve played with. His game is super-exciting. A lot of oohs and ahhs. And a lot of stuff you haven’t seen players do in this game. He’s having a great season since he came back. I didn’t know he was going to ask for a trade. It came out of nowhere. But that’s something he had to do. I was behind him 100 percent.”

Morris’ twin brother, Marcus, has a bit of history with the Mavericks, having delivered a hard foul on Dončić during the 2020 playoffs that caused a minor scuffle.

In addition, Markieff Morris threw down Davis Bertans in a game and the two had words afterward.

“It’s only basketball,” Markieff Morris said. “I have to tell people that all the time. There’s no personal beef, no vendetta. That’s how we play sometimes. We might foul the (heck) out of you. Some guys take it personal, some guys don’t. It’s part of the game. Some guys call it dirty. I just call it playing tough. In the ‘90s, it was acceptable. Now it’s not acceptable, so I don’t know how to take that.”

Minor incidents of the past don’t matter now. Morris is a Maverick and he’s glad that there may be more chances to play here.

And there’s an added advantage. Even though he was born and grew up in the Philadelphia area, Morris is a big Cowboys fan. So while he won’t be rooting against the Eagles in Sunday’s Super Bowl, he won’t shed a tear if they lose, either.

“I’m a big Cowboys fan, so that’s a plus,” he said. “I don’t want them (the Eagles) to lose, but I’m not a fan. When I grew up, it was America’s team, early ‘90s. It was around that time.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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