Raps buy out Murray contract

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:30 AM ET

Few tears were shed on either side of the equation yesterday when the Raptors waived veteran Lamond Murray.

Still, Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said getting rid of a player in this manner hardly is an enjoyable thing.

"Waiving a player never is easy, because you essentially are firing someone," Babcock said. "But looking at our team, this was the most logical choice."

Murray, a 32-year-old forward, only appeared in 95 games in three seasons as a Raptor. A serious foot injury wiped out his first year in Toronto, and he subsequently never gained the confidence of former Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill or current coach Sam Mitchell.

The 6-foot-7 Murray was heading into the final year of his contract, at a salary of $5.25 million US. Sources indicated a buyout for less than that was arranged between Murray and the club.

"I can't go into any of the financial details, but some things were worked out that will help us," Babcock said.

According to Babcock, many factors influenced the decision to waive Murray now.

"First, we eventually are going to need that roster spot," said Babcock, whose club is left with 14 players under contract, one shy of the NBA maximum. "And second, we do have a logjam at small forward, especially after drafting Joey Graham.

"We pursued all the trade scenarios we could (to try to move Murray). With that in mind, the timing of this is out of respect for Lamond and his family. This hopefully gives him a reasonable opportunity to catch on with another team."

The Raptors have made no secret of their desire to add a third point guard -- likely a minimum-salary player -- to back up Rafer Alston and Jose Calderon. But Babcock said the waiving of Murray does not necessarily mean the club is on the verge of signing someone.

"It's unrelated, since we still could have signed another player now without waiving anyone," Babcock said. "That's not to say for sure that we won't sign someone next week. But we still may wait until just before training camp, depending upon what happens."

Recent rumours have linked Luis Flores to the Raptors. The 24-year-old, 6-foot-2 point guard was waived by the Denver Nuggets earlier this week.


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