Jerry Reinsdorf will breathe a little easier today, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Erik Murphy, whom the Chicago Bulls waived on Thursday, has been claimed by the Utah Jazz.
The move caught most people off-guard on Thursday, as waiving Murphy didn’t make any sense in and of itself. It opened a roster spot — speculation has said roster spot being filled by either Mike James or Ronnie Brewer — but without changing the chances of the Bulls paying the luxury tax. However, now that Murphy’s been claimed, his salary comes off the Bulls’ cap sheet, which is big. The Bulls now sit $883,172 below the tax line, enough to absorb a $250,000 bonus to Taj Gibson if he were to make 2nd team All-Defense and a $500,000 bonus to Joakim Noah were he to make 1st team All-NBA, AND signing either James or Brewer for the duration of the season.
Murphy, of course, didn’t play much at all here in Chicago, and his release robs me of my dream of seeing Kirk Hinrich, Jimmer Fredette, Toko Shengelia, Mike Dunleavy and Murphy share the court at the same time. I did think he might help down the road as a stretch four, but he’s functionally useless right now. But the Bulls did seem to like him, and they’re all very pleased to see him land on his feet.
Bulls players, coaches effusively happy that Erik Murphy got claimed off waivers by Utah. "He works too hard," Taj Gibson said.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 5, 2014
In the meantime, let’s hope GarPax opts for Brewer over James. A fourth point guard serves no purpose, and while Brewer figures to take minutes from Tony Snell, he’s still an elite defender and he can help. Mike James can’t.