Murphy to Celtics; Bibby to Heat



The top two teams in the East just got a little better.

Marc Stein tweeted that Murphy told him personally that he’s going to Boston.

Murphy helps take some of the sting out of the loss of Kendrick Perkins in the Jeff Green trade. Murphy can rebound and shoot the three, so he’ll help space the court for the Celtics and give Doc Rivers another capable crunch time option with a little more length than Glen Davis.

I’m surprised Murphy didn’t pick the Heat, who seemingly have more available minutes at center, though maybe he wanted to get back to his Irish roots. The C’s are also in line to talk to Corey Brewer after his surprising buyout by the Knicks. He’s considered an elite wing defender and his on/off stats at 82games back that up.

Meanwhile, Mike Bibby is reportedly heading to the Heat. He’s well past his prime, but he’s still an upgrade over Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo. I’m not sure why Miami hasn’t played with a Wade/Miller backcourt much this season, though Miller has been pretty bad as he’s been working his way back from injury.

Bibby gives the Heat an experienced player who won’t be afraid of the moment. He’s a good shooter who should be able to take advantage of open shots created by LeBron and Wade’s penetration. Good signing by Pat Riley.

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Warriors buy out Murphy; Bibby next?

Atlanta Hawks Mike Bibby shoots a jump shot in the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 27, 2010. The Hawks defeated the Knicks 99-90. UPI/John Angelillo

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reports that the Warriors have agreed to buy out Troy Murphy.

As insisted by Warriors owner Joe Lacob, one source said, Murphy agreed to sign only with an Eastern Conference team.

Exact details of the agreement were not available, but it is believed that the percentage subtracted by the Warriors will correspond relatively to the pro-rated salary Murphy can be expected to receive from his next team.

Murphy won’t make as money in this as he could’ve (when you’re bought out for 100%, everything else you sign for is extra money), but he won’t lose money, either.

Kawakami cites monetary savings, team chemistry and fostering a good relationship with Murphy’s agent, Dan Fegan, as reasons for the Warriors to get this done.

Both Miami and Boston have expressed interest in Murphy, who as recently as last season averaged a double-double (14.6 points, 10.2 rebounds) for the Indiana Pacers. It was no fluke, either. Murphy also averaged a double-double in the 2008-09 season.

He can help both Boston and Miami, but I’d argue that the Heat need him more. He’s a career 39% three-point shooter, so he can make opposing bigs pay for helping in the lane on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He’s not a terribly good defender, but he has a high basketball IQ and rebounds well. I just wonder what kind of shape he’s in after riding the pine in New Jersey this season.

Any team that signs him can only offer the veteran’s minimum, so it’s about the best fit for Murphy. It appears that there are more minutes available in Miami, but with a last name like Murphy, isn’t Boston the place to be?

Mike Bibby is another buyout candidate and according to the Washington Post, his agent will be meeting with the Wizards this week to discuss terms.

The two sides have had preliminary discussions, according to two league sources, but no formal proposals have been made. Bibby makes $5.8 million this season and is on the books for $6.4 million next season. Bibby would have to sacrifice a lot of money and get waived by Tuesday in order to be eligible to join a playoff team this season.

Portland, Miami and Boston are reportedly interested in signing Bibby if he can reach an agreement.

He’d also be a good fit in Miami, where he could easily start at point over Mario Chalmers and/or Carlos Arroyo. He’s a career 38% three-point shooter and is hitting at a 44% clip this season.

If the Heat can add both Bibby and Murphy, Pat Riley will cement his status as Executive of the Year for 2010-11.

Ariza/Collison trade reaction

February 24, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..New Orleans Hornets Darren Collison had 22 points and 9 assists against the Bucks tonight..Milwaukee Buck won over the New Orleans Hornets 115-95. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star: If coach Jim O’Brien can’t work with Collison, if he has the same issues with him that he did with Tinsley and Ford, then we can fairly say it’s an O’Brien problem and not a player problem. My sense is, that won’t happen. What this does is put more pressure on O’Brien to produce in the final year of his contract, although it’s the kind of pressure he surely will welcome. Until now, he has been asked to win with lousy players. Now he has some horses. Let’s just say, if the Pacers can’t make a run at .500 with Collison, management’s decision regarding O’Brien’s future will be an easy one. As for Bird and Morway, this one might have been a job-saver. As the weeks wore on without any Pacers news, and news of Donnie Walsh’s imminent departure from New York, it struck me that Walsh might land back here in Indy to replace Bird. But give Bird and Morway credit: They stuck to their guns, refused to take on big contracts for short-term gain, and kept their eyes on the ball. Finally, we’re seeing the dividends.

John DeShazier, The Times-Picayune: One, he got veteran help in Ariza, a 25-year-old, former NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 who’s coming off his best statistical season. Yes, there’s a risk involved. Collison was one of the league’s best rookies last season and viewed as the ideal backup to Chris Paul at point guard. He could become an All-Star, but the key word is could — 40 or 50 standout games as a rookie don’t constitute a career. Meanwhile, Ariza is a six-year pro whose career has arched upward. Two, he got rid of a declining player with a bad contract (Posey) and an unproductive one (Wright) who assured his departure by refusing to play in summer league after new coach Monty Williams asked him to. It doesn’t matter much whether Belinelli can play, though he’s 6-foot-5 and a career 39 percent shooter from 3-point range, compared to Wright, who was as likely as not to airball a foul shot. A Wright-for-anyone trade falls in the addition by subtraction file. As nice as Wright was, no one accused him of actually “getting” it.

Dave D’Alessandro, The Star-Ledger: The deal is low-risk and high-reward for Nets GM Billy King, because it’s rare to land a productive power forward in the prime of his career with an expiring contract, one who is willing to hold a job until rookie Derrick Favors is ready to snatch it from him. The 6-10 Murphy is one of the league’s most unique players, a power forward who can be a game-buster from the arc but can also throw his weight around. Two seasons ago, he became the first player in NBA history to finish in the top five among the league’s rebounders (11.8 rpg) and 3-point shooters (.450).

Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle: The Rockets tried to trade to get Courtney Lee in the 2008 NBA Draft. They tried to trade to get him last year before the Orlando Magic traded him to the New Jersey Nets. They tried to trade to get him after he went to the Nets. Finally Wednesday, the Rockets landed Lee, sending forward Trevor Ariza to the New Orleans Hornets after just one season in Houston to complete a four-team, five-player deal.In two seasons, the 6-5 Lee has averaged 10.3 points on 44.2 percent shooting. He averaged 12.5 points with the Nets. The Rockets, however, were particularly drawn to his defense, citing his ability to defend at three positions. “He’s very intriguing defensively,” Rockets vice president for player personnel Gersson Rosas said. “He’s going to follow the game plan to a T. He eats up direction and guidance from coaches. “He can defend big ‘ones’ like Deron Williams, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Kidd. He gives us a direction we did not have before. He’s cut from the same cloth as Shane Battier. He really values the details, has a great approach. He really takes it personal.”

Note: You can read my take here.

Ariza, Collison involved in four-team trade

Mar. 09, 2010 - Washington, China - (100310) -- WASHINGTON, March 10, 2010 (Xinhua) -- Trevor Ariza (C) of Houston Rockets shoots during the NBA game between Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards in Washington, the United States, on March 9, 2010. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun.

I wouldn’t call this a ‘mega-trade’ but it’s a pretty significant in terms of the players involved and its impact on the potential departure of Chris Paul.

Chad Ford has the (brief) details:

In the proposed deal, the Houston Rockets will send Trevor Ariza to the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets will send Darren Collison and James Posey to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers will send Troy Murphy to the New Jersey Nets. And the Nets will send Courtney Lee to the Rockets.

Ford is now reporting that this trade is official.

Here is the deal in the ESPN Trade Machine. Click on the picture to see a bigger version.

Let’s look at the Hornets first since they’re the ones trying to satisfy Chris Paul. They are essentially trading away a good up-and-coming point guard in Darren Collison along with James Posey and the two years remaining on his contract. In return, they’re getting Trevor Ariza, who averaged 15-6-4 while shooting under 40% from the field last season for the Rockets.

I thought they might be able to get a little more for Collison, but Ariza is valuable because he’s an athletic wing who can score a little, but can really defend. He’ll fit in nicely alongside Paul, Marcus Thornton and David West in the Hornets’ starting lineup (assuming Monty Williams starts him). They were also able to shed Posey’s contract, which makes the Ariza acquisition a financial wash for the next two seasons. For the Hornets’ sake, I do wish he could shoot the three a little better, but maybe his 3PT accuracy will rise from its 2009-10 levels (33%) with Paul setting him up for better looks.

Meanwhile, the Pacers get their point guard of the future (Collison) by trading away Murphy, who is in the last year of his deal. Financially, Collison and Posey will cost them an extra $4.2 million because most of their salaries are offset by the loss of Murphy’s salary ($12.0 million) this season. This is really a great move by the Pacers. Collison is going to be a very good point guard in the NBA for a very long time.

As for the Rockets and the Nets — well, the Rockets will shed Ariza’s salary, giving them an additional $4.6 million of cap space heading into the summer of 2011. That should be more than enough to sign a max free agent. Conversely, the Nets add Murphy at the expense of Lee, but his deal is expiring, so it looks like he’ll serve as a stopgap at power forward while the franchise waits for Derrick Favors to develop.

In the end, is this a game-changer for Paul and the Hornets? No, but it’s a step in the right direction. After a summer of treading water (or even losing ground by trading away the #11 pick), the franchise has fully committed to Paul by trading away their backup plan (Collison) for someone who can help him win now.

Given this move, it looks like those who had written off the possibility that Paul would stay in New Orleans were wrong. I don’t think the Hornets would have swung this deal had they thought that Paul was serious about forcing a trade. Either that, or the Hornets have completely misread Paul’s intentions.

Should the Cavs acquire Antawn Jamison or Troy Murphy?

ESPN’s Chad Ford breaks down the 25 impact players most likely to be traded before the NBA’s Feb. 18 trade deadline. [Insider subscription required.]

1. Antawn Jamison, F, Wizards
Jamison is at the top of this list for three reasons. First, the Wizards are a mess and seem to be moving rapidly toward a fire sale. Second, Jamison is in the latter stages of his career. Neither he nor the Wizards want him stuck on a terrible team. Third, a number of contenders want him, namely the Cavs. That’s the perfect recipe for a big deadline trade.

2. Troy Murphy, F, Pacers
The Pacers look as though they’re moving toward a youth movement as they continue to build around Danny Granger. With a number of contending teams interested in Murphy, the Pacers seem to be in the right place to make a deal. While Murphy may be overpaid, there are few bigs in the league that can rebound and spread the floor the way he can. With just one more year left on his contract, Murphy could be the missing piece for a team trying to compete for a title.

The Cavs seem to have the most interest, though several other teams have also told me they’ll make a run at him. At the very least, the Pacers should be able to deal Murphy for expiring contracts and one asset (either a draft pick or a young prospect).

3. Tayshaun Prince, F, Pistons
Joe Dumars didn’t expect the Pistons to be championship contenders this season. But he also didn’t anticipate the team losing 13 games in a row. The fact that the Pistons drafted three small forwards in last year’s draft and that two of them — Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye — look very promising is all you need to know. The word on the street is that the Pistons are in very active trade discussions on Prince.

While the team would prefer to move Richard Hamilton, I don’t think they’re going to be able to find a home for him given his enormous contract. If the Pistons can swap Prince for some help in the paint, they’ve got to do it. The combination of Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown just isn’t getting it done.

It makes sense that Jamison is more likely on his way out of Washington than his teammate, Caron Butler. Butler is younger (29) and has a better contract, and the Wizards could actually build around him for 3-4 years if they chose to do so.

It looks like Ford believes that there’s a good chance that the Cavs will end up with either Jamison or Murphy. Both are power forwards who can spread the court with good outside shooting.

Here is what John Hollinger had to say about Jamison’s defense:

If Jamison has a weakness, it’s his defense, and the absence of Brendan Haywood last year magnified that problem. He’s a disinterested help defender who rarely blocks shots or takes charges, and quicker forwards beat him off the dribble easily because his lateral movement isn’t great. He does a decent job on the boards and doesn’t foul, but he needs to be paired with a big, tough center to hide his shortcomings.

And here are his thoughts about Murphy on that end of the floor:

While he’s a tremendous rebounder with a strong frame and a knack for positioning, his lack of foot speed hurts him at the defensive end, too. He struggles to contest shots or defend long post players and is particularly bad at moving laterally to defend pick-and-rolls.

To sum up, Murphy is a better three-point shooter (40% to 35%), but Jamison is probably better able to match up with Rashard Lewis, who gave the Cavs fits in last year’s playoffs. Murphy has one more season at the tune of $12.0 million, while Jamison has two more years and $28.4 remaining on his contract. Murphy (29) is four years younger than Jamison (33).

Acquiring Murphy would allow for more flexibility in a year or two, but with LeBron’s future up in the air, Danny Ferry should make a move for the player he thinks is most able to help the Cavs win a championship now. Maybe it’s Murphy, maybe it’s Jamison. They both bring different things to the table.

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