Rumours of a Lamond Murray buyout came to fruition late Friday when the Toronto Raptors waived the 32 year old forward after an unsuccessful 3 year stint with the team. Murray was supposed to be the high powered off the bench offensive player the Raptors needed when they acquired him back in 2002. At the time the Raptors' brass felt former Raptor Vince Carter was shouldering too much of the offensive load, and Murray, an 18 point per game scorer with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was thought to be a perfect fit. Lamond however missed his entire first season with the Raptors with a foot injury and quickly fell out of favour with head coach Kevin O'Neal in the following season and never rediscovered the offensive prowness that made him so dangerous as a Cavalier. Instead, Murray's best performance may have been saved for OFF the court where he was seen working on his pick and roll one night at the Brass Rail by this particular writer.
Murray's departure reinforces the belief that Raptor's GM Rob Babcock will now be using the empty roster spot to search for a third-string point guard.
The most unfortunate part of this situation is not that the Raptors' are now paying more then $10 million for two players who don't even play for them (Lamond and Alonzo Mourning.) Nor is it that Lamond is rumoured to now be joining Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets to Raptors' fans' chagrin. No, it's more that looking back, this trade was a complete waste. The Raptors gave up a first round pick to obtain Murray which is something they now sorely need in the rebuilding process and that pick now lies with The Charlotte Bobcats who acquired it from Cleveland. With the exception of a few good nights offensively off the bench for the team last season, Murray had almost no impact on the team and perhaps will be best remembered for fighting with Kevin O'Neal and the Raptors' brass nearing the end of the 2003/04 season and demanding a trade.