Nets need to solve Murphy issue

Quick. Who is the New Jersey Nets' highest paid player?

For those who chose Troy Murphy, give yourself a bell.

The 6-11 power forward, traded from Indiana to his native New Jersey in the offseason and the owner of 102 minutes court time this season going into tonight's game at Sacramento, is "probably" on his way out as part of another trade, an anonymous source told The Star-Ledger.

Murphy dealt with a back injury during the preseason but was cleared to play four games into the season. He was instantly plugged into the starting lineup on Nov. 3 — making $11.9 million (albeit with an expiring contract) on a bad team sort of dictates one must be inserted as soon as physically capable.

During that Nov. 3 game against Charlotte, Murphy contributed two points on 1-of-3 shooting with two rebounds and a block in 18 minutes. He played 76 minutes over the next three starts, shooting 7-of-25 — 3-of-10 from 3, which is his forte — and grabbing 21 rebounds. Since then, Murphy has played eight minutes in four games.

He has seen Kris Humphries take over his starting job.

"He's not there physically. He's not injured. We want to spend a little more time building him up," coach Avery Johnson told the Nets beat writers. He then added that he will spend more time with the team's strength and conditioning coach and "then down the road it'll be game to game."

Murphy's response: "It is what it is."

The Nets and Johnson knew what they were getting when Murphy was part of the trade — a 10-year veteran who over the last three years has drained 383 3-pointers on .468 shooting and grabbed 2,141 rebounds. Those seem like characteristics a 4-7 team, last in the Association in scoring, would want.

Do the Nets want to go young? Certainly. If that's the case then ship Murphy off, go ahead and keep Humphries in there and speed up the process on this June's No. 2 overall pick Derrick Favors.

But therein lies the problem.

Favors has been part of trade fodder of a Carmelo Anthony deal seemingly since he was selected.

So the Nets need to make up their mind.

Is Favors staying or going? If Melo comes over does Murphy stay?

As it stands now — or sits as it were — $11.9 worth of 3-point shooting and rebounding is riding the pine, not being showcased as trade bait to at least prove he is healthy and not even understanding himself why that it is.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

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