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  Tue, February 24, 2004


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The Last Word
The one thing consistent about Lamond Murray's career is that wherever he goes, he loses. Too bad for the Raptors.

By STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

There is no solution to the Lamond Murray problem.

There never has been.

The Raptors made a regrettable deal in the summer of 2002 and all it has cost them is money and games and, down the road, some of their future.

This franchise seems to have a penchant for paying a whole lot of money for a whole lot of nothing -- Hakeem Olajuwon, Nate Huffman, Lenny Wilkens, Yogi Stewart, who turned into Murray in a trade that will see the Raptors continuing to throw good money after bad and in the future relinquish a first-round draft pick in the process.

Lamond Murray, let history show, is a career NBA loser. Nine years in the league, nine seasons with more losses than wins. Two hundred more losses than wins. A known malcontent. A player whose history is dotted with suspensions and on his past two teams similar situations.

There was mutual agreement: He wanted out and they wanted him out.

It ended in Cleveland when a frustrated Murray faxed a letter to selective media members, demanding that the Cavaliers play him or trade him.

With no interest in playing their leading scorer, they were willing to accept a career bench warmer in return for a player with four years and more than $18 million US remaining on his contract. They somehow found a willing recipient in Glen Grunwald, who tried to trade Murray and now is caught in the impossible.

He can't play him and he can't trade him. Murray can't get into any rhythm without playing more and he can't play more if he doesn't play better.

It's a lose-lose situation for a team in need of some kind of good news.

The one thing Lamond Murray can do is score. That's his history. But he should actually be known as Lamon Murray because he supplies no D. That doesn't play with Kevin O'Neill, the coach who suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team.

O'Neill was so thrilled to have Murray back at practice yesterday that the two didn't speak. And they have no plans on speaking.

At this point, they are agreeing to disagree, which will get no one anywhere: Murray will sit at the end of bench and sulk; O'Neill won't play him. The Raptors will lack offence with Vince Carter and Jalen Rose out, and nothing will change.

How's that for progressive thinking?

Spend a minute or two speaking with Murray and you can better understand the waste of Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund money he has become.

Was it tough coming out today, he was asked?

"I have no comment on it," Murray said. "I have nothing to say."

Can you see yourself spending the rest of the season in this city?

"I have no comment. I don't want to get into that."

Wouldn't it be in the best interest of both you and your coach to sit down and talk about what happened?

"I have no comment on that."

O'Neill's take?

"As far as I'm concerned, it's (over). We have not talked. That's the only comment I'm going to make on the situation."

Grunwald's take?

"I don't think we have to talk anymore about that," he said. "The situation is over ... We've dealt with it. Hopefully, we're going to move forward."

On the day he acquired Murray, Grunwald called him a "talented veteran ... he has proven to be a consistent performer in his NBA career."

Consistent yes: He left Los Angeles with a sign and trade deal with Cleveland. He left Cleveland publicly demanding a trade. Here, he said it verbally rather than in print.

One quick final Lamond Murray story: Cleveland had him traded to San Antonio in 2001, but only if Murray opted out of the final two years of his contract. Murray declined.

He could have gone to a champion. He took the money instead.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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