http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/14190905.htmCavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry has created a problem for himself.
It's what a fan would call a good problem, because it's the result of a very prudent decision.
Picking up Flip Murray at the trading deadline will be remembered as one of Ferry's best moves in his first year on the job. He has worked out so well, the fan base already is clamoring for Murray to be re-signed after the season.
With his play since coming to the Cavaliers and getting a starting job that he has thought for several years he deserved, Murray has merited a good contract. That has not only been noticed in Cleveland but also across the NBA. He probably will have several suitors.
Which brings up the aforementioned problem: The Cavs already have a starting shooting guard in Larry Hughes and already have more than $22 million invested in wing players Hughes, LeBron James, Damon Jones, Ira Newble, Sasha Pavlovic and Luke Jackson next season.
The Cavs also are likely to exceed the salary cap, which means they'll have just the two salary-cap exceptions -- what are known as the mid-level exception and the bi-annual exception -- to sign free agents such as Murray.
Because he's just on a one-year contract, the Cavs cannot exceed the salary cap to sign Murray; they must use one of their exceptions.
The mid-level is $5 million and can be broken into pieces, and the bi-annual is $1.7 million and must be used in one piece. Every other team in the league has the same ammunition.
Last summer, Murray was a restricted free agent with the Seattle SuperSonics and was unable to get an offer sheet that he liked. According to reports from Seattle, he rejected the Sonics' multiyear offer because it was too low. It was believed that the Sonics offered a five-year deal worth around $3 million per season -- about the same deal teammate Damien Wilkins signed.
Murray, however, was looking for a deal more like former Sonics teammate Antonio Daniels got from the Washington Wizards last summer, which was $30 million over five years. That nearly matches the maximum that the Cavs could offer with their full mid-level exception this summer.
Murray is seen as a hard worker who pours time into his game, works on the defensive end, for the most part, and, generally, is well-liked in the locker room. He is entering the prime of his career and delivers in the clutch, so it wouldn't be hard to make a case to give such a deal to him.
The Cavs, however, need help at point guard, and Murray might not want to settle for being a backup, especially if there are offers to be a starter elsewhere for the same money.
Ferry also must handle the dicey situation of forward Drew Gooden's restricted free agency, which would open up all sorts of options -- from letting him walk to keeping him, to signing and trading him for a point guard or something else.
There are several ways Ferry could go with Murray. The Cavs might consider the idea of starting Murray, Hughes and James with the thought that the three could share point-guard duties. Eric Snow and Jones would serve as backups.
Convincing Murray he will start could be a big part of the sales job.
The point is: The Murray contract situation will have plenty of intrigue this summer, and don't assume that he will want to come back even with how he has played.