Point guard Toure Murry is close to signing a two-year agreement with the Utah Jazz, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Utah Jazz are closing in on a deal to sign free-agent guard Toure’ Murry away from the New York Knicks, according to NBA front-office sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Jazz are finalizing a two-year, $2 million contract with Murry.
The Knicks, sources say, have been trying this month to convince Murry to hold off on signing elsewhere as they try continue to sort out their roster, with New York hopeful of bringing back the athletic combo guard after allowing Murry to become an unrestricted free agent at end the June.
Murry is a high-energy defensive point guard that played in 51 games for the Knicks last season. He’s not much of a shooter, but he’s athletic enough to get to the rim when he needs to in order to keep the defense off balance. Then again, his offensive abilities are not why a team would sign him.
Defensively, Murry is a superb backup guard. He gets into the grill of every opposing player and plays passing lanes really well. Getting to learn for a season under Pablo Prigioni undoubtedly only helped helped his development on that end (although, there’s always the possibility that it was counteracted by whatever the hell Raymond Felton was doing). It’s not at all a surprise that the Knicks were two points per 100 possessions better defensively when Murry stepped onto the floor.
Out of Wichita State and undrafted in 2012, Murry has a decent chance to make the Jazz (obviously depending on if his salary is guaranteed or not). The team only has twelve guaranteed contracts right now. He’ll be in something of a positional battle with Ian Clark, who IS on a non-guaranteed salary. Clark is a high-level defender as well, but can also shoot at a high level from distance unlike Murry. Whichever one of these players makes the roster might get some real minutes, because none of the Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Gordon Hayward, or Alec Burks group particularly stands out defensively. Getting either of these guys on the court for five minute stretches with one or two of those players could help on that end. Also, it helps that all of the aforementioned group can handle the ball and create their own offense, because creating for others is just not something that either Murry or Clark do.
Because of Quin Snyder’s emphasis on shooting, it stands to reason that Clark is ahead of Murry on the depth chart right now by just a sliver — but you should also keep in mind I’m a rather big fan of Clark’s game. It’ll almost certainly come down to which player performs better in training camp between the two of them. Also, I’d probably only keep one of these guys, as both Exum and Burke have experience at the point. Plus, with both Carrick Felix and Rodney Hood on the roster as young swingmen on guaranteed contracts, there isn’t a whole lot of room generally in the backcourt.
Utah should feature quite a few camp battles for playing time this season, and they’re certainly going to be one of the preseason teams to watch.