If there is one player in this league that will definitely be dealt by the rapidly approaching deadline on Feb. 24, it is Nets PF Troy Murphy, the ninth-year veteran out of Notre Dame.
A New Jersey native, Murphy was "excited" for the opportunity to play for the Nets, yet he was never able to establish himself in Avery Johnson's rotation. Murphy requested a trade back in January, but has been part of Carmelo Anthony rumors ever since their inception.
With his $11.97 million contract expiring at year's end, it should not be difficult for the Nets to find a team eager to shed some cap space. Here are a few plausible trades that would give the Nets solid value in return for the unfortunate big man.
One of the tamer photos of Artest
Recently, the Lakers announced that they would be open to a trade that would, perhaps, spark the team and hoist them back to championship level. One of the names that came up was Ron Artest.
Here's one plausible deal that would move Ron Ron to New Jersey.
Nets Receive: Ron Artest, Luke Walton
Lakers Receive: Troy Murphy, Damion James, Stephen Graham
The addition of Murphy would give the Lakers extreme depth in the front court, while James and Graham could split time with Barnes at SF. This would also move the Nets closer to becoming LA Lakers 2.0.
Kim for Khloe?
Here is a gutsier trade that just might work with the proper persuasion. I call this one the Kardashian Swap.
Nets Receive: Lamar Odom, Luke Walton
Lakers Receive: Troy Murhpy, Kris Humphries, first-round pick
Derrick Favors is, by all means, the Nets future at power forward, but Odom is a great sixth man who could fill in for Lopez at center as well.
He may be aging, but he can still score
Here's a simple one. Nothing fancy, just a straight-up deal.
Nets Receive: Rip Hamilton (or Teyshaun Prince or Ben Gordon)
Pistons Receive: Troy Murphy
Hamilton was almost a Net earlier in the season before trade talks broke down with the Nuggets. Now, with the deadline approaching and Hamilton's contract still taking up space on a depleted Detroit roster, it is not inconceivable that he may still wind up in New Jersey.
However, it would probably make more sense for the Nets to bring in Prince at small forward if they were to complete a deal with Detroit.
While trading for any of these players is a great way to shed Murphy's contract, one has to wonder whether or not the Nets are willing to add aging scorers to a young, developing roster.
Beaubois smoking Duncan like French Toast
Nets Receive: Caron Butler, Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones
Mavericks Receive: Troy Murphy, Ben Uzoh
The Mavericks are currently more than willing to bring in an expiring contract for the remainder of the year if it means improved chances of going far in the playoffs. Mark Cuban even expressed that he would trade for Carmelo Anthony regardless of Anthony's willingness to sign an extension.
This particular deal essentially swaps expiring contracts (Murphy and Butler). Butler is currently out with a knee injury for the rest of the season, but may reportedly be ready to return to action for the playoffs.
If the Mavs do not want to take that chance on Butler, the addition of Murphy would help shore up their rotation. The Nets, on the other hand, would gain two young guards with definite potential.
Classic "how am I ever going to win a championship?" face
We all know the Nets "pulled out" of trade talks with the Nuggets, but as I wrote here, it would be bad business strategy for owner Mikhail Prokhorov to not send the Nuggets one final offer in the days before the deadline.
Personally, I think the Nets should stick with something closer to their initial offer, which is still better than what they can get from any other team.
Nets Receive: Carmelo Anthony, Al Harrington
Nuggets Receive: Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, first-round picks
Frankly, I think this is a great move for the Nuggets. Not only do they gain valuable picks and a highly touted rookie, but they also get to unload Harrington's awful contract onto the Nets.