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Sam Smith: Orlando Magic "Expected" To Sign Troy Murphy Following Buyout

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Citing "league executives," Sam Smith reports the Orlando Magic are still "expected" to sign New Jersey Nets power forward Troy Murphy if he is bought out of his contract, either by New Jersey or another team that acquires him at the trade deadline. One General Manager who spoke to Smith said he believes Otis Smith, the Magic's President of Basketball Operations, "has been waiting for" a Murphy buyout to address his deficit of big men.

The Magic have been interested in Murphy for at least a month, as Marc Stein first reported they might try signing him in late January. And five days ago, Adrian Wojnarowski fueled further speculation that Murphy could sign with Orlando when he reported the Nets have not received satisfactory trade offers for him.

According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Golden State Warriors have offered some of their expiring contracts to New Jersey for Murphy, whose $11.9 million deal comes off the books at season's end. However, Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area believes the Warriors would simply buy Murphy out rather than play him, opening the possibility he could sign elsewhere as a free agent.

Murphy would join Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson as former Warriors on the current Magic roster. Smith served in Golden State's front office during the early stages of their careers and has a personal relationship with each. Additionally, Murphy shares an agent, Dan Fegan, with Dwight Howard and Richardson, two of Orlando's three highest-paid players, further strengthening the connection between him and the franchise.

Since trading Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns in December, the Magic have used only three big men on most nights. They almost assuredly need another one, should Howard face foul trouble in the playoffs. I've written more extensively about Murphy's credentials as they relate to Orlando here.