The Orlando Magic continue to be interested in New Jersey Nets power forward Troy Murphy, but only if he and the Nets reach a buyout agreement, according to a new NBA trade deadline update from Yahoo! Sports scribe Adrian Wojnarowski. "Trade talks have gone nowhere for Murphy," says Wojnarowski, who's confident the Nets will buy the veteran big man out "after the trade deadline."
Last month, ESPN's Marc Stein reported the Magic would be interested in signing Murphy if New Jersey buys him out. So if this story sounds familiar, it ought to.
The Magic will have some competition for Murphy's services, however; the New Orleans Hornets, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Dallas Mavericks are all "expected" to make overtures to Murphy, according to Wojnarowski's report.
Additionally, in a chat today at ESPN.com, Chad Ford said "Orlando will be a strong possibility" for Murphy once the Nets buy him out.
But a buyout is no guarantee, according to Nets beat writer Al Iannazzone. Earlier this afternoon, he took to Twitter to write, "Buying out Murphy is the last resort, but the Nets believe they will be able to trade him." Given Murphy's rough season, and his $11.9 million contract, I find it doubtful many teams will be willing to give up much for Murphy in a trade. But that's merely my opinion.
Orlando values the three-point shot and needs another rotation-caliber frontcourt player, as it currently features Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, and Dwight Howard there on a nightly basis.
Bothered by a sore back in training camp, Murphy's season with the Nets, his hometown team, hasn't gone well. The ninth-year pro shot just 34.2 percent from the field and 17.4 percent on three-pointers before leaving the team once it became clear he wasn't in its plans. He's had a distinguished career as one of the league's premiere three-point-shooting big men, complementing his 39.1 percent three-point stroke with one rebound every 3.4 minutes, a rare combination of skills.
The Magic appear to have a leg up when it comes to signing Murphy outright as a free agent, as it can offer a pro-rated portion of the Bi-Annual Exception; among the teams reportedly interested in Murphy, neither Boston nor Miami can offer as much money. Florida's lack of state income tax also makes Orlando an attractive destination, as does the opportunity to play quality minutes off the bench each night.
Notably, Howard and Murphy share the same agent, Dan Fegan, which could also help Orlando's efforts to sign Murphy.
The NBA trade deadline is next Thursday, February 24th.