HAWKSVILLE -Flip Murray’s already made his case.
The Hawks aren’t yet done with this regular season or even the playoffs.
But one thing has become clear, the Hawks’ sixth man of the present needs to remain their sixth man for the future.
Someone just jokingly asked me if I was Murray’s agent for writing something like this. Of course, I’m not. But if I were, this would be one client I wouldn’t be worried about heading into the summer.
Some team will show Murray the “Quan” this summer. And the Hawks need to be that team.
After all, Murray’s performance this year isn’t that of some mercenary on his latest job. I asked him after his season-high 30-point night against Minnesota Monday if he was upset about coming out before he could get one more bucket and set a new career high.
He gave me an are-you-serious look I wish I could have frozen and shown to you.
“I don’t care about nothing like that,” Murray said. “That wasn’t about me showboating or trying to get stats. We were trying to win that game and take care of our business. That’s all.”
Murray’s affinity for this team and for Atlanta has been obvious from the start. He was on his way to Russia before the Hawks had to scramble for replacements when Josh Childress bolted for Greece (they got Murray and valuable veteran pick up Mo Evans).
Murray’s history with Hawks GM Rick Sund (in Seattle, which isn’t nearly as colorful as his rise from Philly playground legend to NBA regular ) no doubt played a role in his choosing to remain stateside and play on a one-year deal (at a bargain basement price of $1.5 million). But give Murray credit for making the most of the opportunity.
And as for this summer, when suitors will be lining up to inquire about his services for the future, the Hawks will have one major chip on their side (not that these things are always valid once negotiating time begins).
There weren’t 29 other teams calling him and asking him to delay his departure for Russia.
There was only one.
HAWKS AND SPURS GO AT IT LIVE HERE IN JUST MINUTES
No Tim Duncan for the Spurs as the Hawks try and extend their home winning-streak to nine games and clinch a playoff berth on the same night against the four-time champs.
Duncan is sitting out the second night of a back-to-back for the second time this season, per my Spurs counterpart Mike Monroe. Something about resting the big fella to make sure he’s feeling just right come playoff time.
What a novel approach!