Murray, Raptors happy

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Raptors forward Lamond Murray couldn't get out of Toronto fast enough last season.

After taking up permanent residence in former coach Kevin O'Neill's doghouse, the 11-year NBA veteran demanded a trade mid-way through the 2003-04 campaign.

His anger appears, at least, to be water under the bridge. Murray has been working out all week at the Air Canada Centre along side the team's younger stars, including Chris Bosh, Rafer Alston and rookie centre Rafael Araujo.

Training camp begins on Oct. 5, but many players have been working out in informal sessions at the ACC for a couple of weeks, Murray being the most senior among them.

A good sign? Raptors GM Rob Babcock thinks so.

"He's working hard, he's in good shape and is playing very well," Babcock said yesterday of Murray, who averaged 16.6 points per game for Cleveland during the 2001-02 season.

Babcock said Murray has not reiterated a request to be traded.

"We've had many discussions and they've all been very positive," the GM said.

Murray played in only 33 games for the Raptors last season, by far the fewest in his distinguished career, with the exception of the 2002-03 season, which he missed because of a ligament tear in his right foot.

New head coach Sam Mitchell has said that what happened last year in Toronto is of no consequence to him, adding that everyone will come into camp with a clean slate -- including disgruntled superstar Vince Carter, who asked to be traded this summer.

The only players missing from the team's informal, and very optional, workouts this week have been veterans Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall and Alvin Williams. Babcock expects to see Rose and Marshall this week, although Williams is attending to some family matters.

Babcock is in the process of signing one or two players to non-guaranteed contracts in time for next week's camps.

"We're trying to get these things done, but the (delays) are not basketball issues, but immigration," he said, adding that the players in question will essentially be signed as insurance in case of injuries, although players can always make the team as a result of a great camp.

In other news, the Raps announced that Greg Spratt will be taking over from Chuck Mooney as the team's head athletic trainer, along with assistant Sam Gibbs. Spratt spent 15 seasons in the New York Yankee organization and Gibbs has been the head athletic therapist with the Canadian men's basketball team.

Dr. Paul Marks, who has served as orthopedic surgery consultant to the Raptors since the team's inception in 1995, is now head team physician and orthopedic surgeon, while Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher, who has worked with the Mississauga Ice Dogs and Canadian freestyle ski team, is a new team physician.


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