Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Troy Murphy not rejoining Nets
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEWARK, N.J. -- Contrary to what New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King said in an interview with WFAN on Monday, power forward Troy Murphy will not be rejoining the team.
Head coach Avery Johnson made the announcement before Wednesday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Billy said we're just going to stay along the same path," Johnson said. "[Murphy] will not be rejoining our team."
The Nets are trying to trade Murphy, who has fallen out of the rotation and has not played since Jan. 7.
Murphy has not been with the Nets since they embarked on a four-game West Coast road trip Jan. 12. And there are no plans for him to return, even if it means not being able to showcase him for a potential trade.
"I think we've tried that," Johnson said. "Right now, there's no minutes there to play."
King originally told WFAN during a halftime interview at Monday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers that Murphy would likely rejoin the team.
"Troy probably will, maybe will be joining us again -- be back with the team," King told the Nets' flagship radio station. "He'd like to do that until something really does happen. ... Most likely, he may be back."
Murphy was expected to wind up with the Detroit Pistons in the three-team, multi-player trade that would've brought Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony to the Nets.
However, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov nixed the trade during a news conference last week. King followed up Prokhorov's news conference by telling the media that he would still attempt to accommodate Murphy's request for a trade.
In an interview with ESPN.com's Marc Stein, though, King rescinded his comments that Murphy had asked to be traded.
"I probably worded it a little bit too harshly," King told Stein.
Still, King reiterated to Stein that he and Murphy have been in constant communication, and have a mutual understanding that King will look to move Murphy and his $12 million expiring contract elsewhere -- preferably to a playoff contender.
"I've been very up front with him," King said. "I told him it's unfortunate, but there's just no minutes for you, so I'll try to accommodate you [with a trade]."
According to Stein, there would be unquestioned interest in Murphy if he went the buyout route and became a free agent -- starting with Orlando, Dallas and San Antonio -- but the Nets are hoping to swap him for a similar expiring contract before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
Murphy has played 639 games without appearing in a playoff game, the longest streak of any active player.
Murphy, 30, was acquired by the Nets in an offseason trade and expected to be the team's starting power forward while rookie Derrick Favors developed. But Murphy has been hampered by back and foot injuries, and eventually lost his place in the rotation to Kris Humphries.
The Sparta, N.J., native, who played his high school basketball at Delbarton, has appeared in just 18 games this season, averaging 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Attempts to reach King were unsuccessful. The Nets released a statement earlier Wednesday stating that Murphy's status "remains unchanged."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.