As the New York Knicks’ tumultuous 2013-14 season unfolded, point guard Toure’ Murry became something of a cultish pet cause for beleaguered fans—a player who, given his role as Raymond Felton’s backup, deserved far more playing time than Mike Woodson was prepared to permit.
Now, other teams are hoping the rangy 6’5” defensive specialist becomes an even bigger afterthought in Phil Jackson’s new regime. From ESPN New York’s Ian Begley:
The name of one somewhat surprising New York Knicks player keeps coming in conversations around the league as the draft and free agency draw near.
Combo guard Toure' Murry, coming off his rookie season, is said to be on the radar of a handful of teams -- Chicago and Golden State among them -- that are hoping the shift in power in New York from the Knicks' previous administration to Phil Jackson leads to Murry becoming an unrestricted free agent.
ESPNNewYork.com reported last week that the Brooklyn Nets also have interest in Murry.
However, as Begley notes, the Knicks do ultimately control Murry’s fate: By extending a qualifying offer before June 29, New York would be able to match any competing offer.
The Knicks’ interest in retaining Murry goes beyond simple convenience, however. Indeed, Murry, in Begley’s words, “would figure to appeal to Jackson, who has always favored big guards not only in his triangle offense but for the physicality they can bring to the position.”
There’s also the little part about Jackson telling Felton the Knicks would do everything they could to trade the embattled point guard this offseason, a scoop first reported by SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria.
Murry is still very much an unproven product, meaning it’s hard to see any team going too far beyond whatever qualifying offer the Knicks theoretically extend.
With the 37-year-old Pablo Prigioni being New York’s only other viable point guard, it stands to reason the Knicks will look to re-sign Murry. Unless, of course, they have another free agent in mind—someone like Luke Ridnour or Kirk Hinrich, for example.
During his inaugural press conference on March 18, Jackson had this to say about rounding out his new roster—a capped-out one at that—with means both conventional and creative.
“We’re going to have to go out and work the bushes for players the next year, Jackson said. “And we’re going to have to work them the coming years as we do go forward and we have draft picks, and we have the chance to build this team.”
Take “work the bushes” how you will, but it makes sense for New York to work its own back yard before getting into the twisting weeds and thickets of the NBA’s bargain-bin jungle.
Murry may not be the Knicks point guard of the future. But when you’re walking on as high a fiscal wire as Phil will be, “future” becomes a word measured not in years or decades, but days.