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Murphy thrilled to be playing for hometown Nets

Posted Aug 20 2010 6:51AM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- When Troy Murphy was a kid growing up in Sparta, N.J., he was a die-hard fan of the New Jersey Nets.

Now he gets to play for them.

Murphy was traded the Nets last week as part of a four-team deal, and after nine years spent with the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers, it appears that the 6-foot-11 forward will start this season for New Jersey.

"They were my team,'' Murphy said of growing up. "I used to love to watch Chris Morris launch those shots from out of bounds during warm-ups. I liked the team with Keith Van Horn and Jayson Williams. That team was on the rise and I really liked them. I always wanted to play [here].''

Murphy has averaged 12.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game over his career. His best season came in 2004-05 with the Warriors, when he averaged 15.4 points and 10.8 rebounds. Murphy also can make the 3-point shot, shooting almost 40 percent from long range for his career.

"It's really a dream come true for me,'' he said Thursday at the team's practice facility. "It's the team that I followed growing up. I never thought this was possible.''

Murphy is in the final year of his contract and will make $11.9 million this season.

"At the end of the season, I thought I'd be moved,'' said Murphy, who averaged 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in 72 games for Indiana last season. "As the summer went on, I was expecting to go back to Indiana, but then this happened and I'm very excited about it.''

Murphy has maintained his offseason home in New York, so he's thrilled to be back home.

General manager Billy King said the Nets were the ones who initiated the trade talks with Indiana to acquire Murphy. Indiana wanted a point guard in return, so he then got other teams involved to complete the deal.

"I'd like to say that we planned it that way, but I certainly can say I thought of it,'' said King, who was brought in last month to replace Rod Thorn as GM. "We were looking for a guy who could shoot the 3 and could rebound. The bonus is that he's from New Jersey. We were looking for a power forward and I thought the perfect fit was Troy. So I made the call.''

The rest of the deal saw the Nets send shooting guard Courtney Lee to Houston, the Pacers getting point guard Darren Collison and swingman James Posey from New Orleans, and swingman Trevor Ariza going from Houston to New Orleans.

The Nets took on Murphy's salary and shipped Lee's $1.4 million salary to Houston.

"It really was a unique situation,'' King said. "I think everyone got what they wanted. If that happens, then it's a good trade.''

Murphy said that he was looking forward to playing for new Nets coach Avery Johnson, who was Murphy's teammate when the two played in Golden State.

"When I was playing with Avery, I knew he would end up being a coach,'' said the 29-year-old Murphy. "He always had suggestions and sort of looked after me. I liked playing with him and I look forward to playing for him. I think I fit in well with this team. I'm happy to be here. The pieces are in place to have a significantly better season this year.''

Murphy will also be asked to be a mentor to their first-round draft pick Derrick Favors.

"It doesn't bother me,'' Murphy said. "He's young and going to be a great player.''

King said that he spoke to Murphy about his role with the team and that the expiring contract does not automatically mean Murphy will be a Net for only one season.

"We talked about the future,'' King said. "We don't look at this for just one year. At the end of this year, we'll sit down and discuss another contract. We don't look at him as a one-year guy.''

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