While a ton of attention has been paid to Isiah Thomas and his Will-He-Or-Won’t-He “Assist” the New York Knicks saga, one of Zeke’s ‘80s glory day rivals and fellow futile front office man, Larry Bird actually made a shrewd business move Tuesday.
In a four-team deal, the Pacers landed Darren Collison and James Posey from New Orleans, while Troy Murphy was jettisoned off to New Jersey in a trade that involved Houston, Trevor Ariza and Courtney Lee as well.
Indiana has had a gaping hole at the point guard spot for years. Bird was lambasted this season as a deep rookie point guard class of Collison, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor and Jrue Holliday all showed potential, while Pacers draftee Tyler Hansbrough missed 53 games with a shin injury followed by vertigo. Good Hitchcock movie. Bad excuse to miss a season.
In Collison, the Pacers get the young point guard they’ve been starving for. Acquiring a point guard was no shock. It was priority No. 1, 2 and 3 for Bird this summer. So the trade is a win from that standpoint alone. But getting rid of Murphy, while many might see as giving up something of value, is an absolute coup.
And Indy fans are rejoicing in the streets…alright maybe not, but at least they’re talking about the Pacers the same week the Colts kick off preseason action.
Murphy is simply a stat sheet player. I loved him last year because he was on my fantasy team. Dude with center eligibility that bombs 3-pointers and usually manages double-digit rebounds. But the problem with Murphy is that he’s a loser.
Sorry, Troy. But there’s no getting around it. You’re a loser. Perhaps it’s your awful commitment to “defense,” the bloated rebound numbers on meaningless, easy snags my pregnant sister could grab, or the fact that jacking up 3s from the top of the key is your ONLY move. But teams just can’t seem to win with you.
In nine seasons, Murphy has never been on a winning team. OK, he’s played for Golden State and Indiana during that stretch, but let me extrapolate:
In 2006-07, Murphy was traded midseason from Golden State to Indiana.
The Warriors were 18-20.
The Pacers were 20-19.
Indiana wasn’t setting the world on fire, but hey, they were above .500.
Not for long.
After the Pacers acquired Murphy, the team subsequently went 15-28 to finish the season 35-47. Oh, and the Warriors? They finished 42-40 and made the playoffs for the first time since Run TMC in 1994.
In all, Murphy’s teams have compiled a 267-436 record. That’s a .380 winning percentage. Ugh.
I’m not too sure that’s going to get any better with the epically woeful Nets.
As for the Pacers, things are looking up as the team’s snow starts to melt.
Joining Collison in the backcourt will be New York City phenom Lance Stephenson, who Bird wisely drafted in the second round. The kid balled in Summer League and looks like a steal. Apparently, if a kid with super high expectations and hype wins Rookie of the Year in what is perceived the toughest conference in college basketball he’s considered a flop. How Stephenson slipped all the way to pick No. 40 is beyond me.
So now Pacers’ fans have some excitement, some flare.
I got a text from my buddy earlier today, “Murphy gone. Only six more white dudes to go…”
And we’ve hit this baby hard and often. (That’s what she said.)
Sure we all saw the overt 1990s hickory-raised racism in the “Winning Time” documentary about Reggie Miller and the Pacers’ rivalry with the Knicks. But hey, times they are a-changing. Indy has one of the largest Black Expos around, and we’re not talking Andre Dawson.
Plus, they want a winner. And you can’t win with 40 percent of your roster white, when the league average is somewhere around five. Larry Legend is learning.
A quick glance at the Pacers’ roster as of Tuesday shows just four white players. That might sound like a lot for every other team in the NBA, but not Indiana. It was a regular Kiwanis Club meeting.
Now if Bird can just tempt Utah or Sacramento with Mike Dunleavy…