Sunday , Nov , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Avery Johnson and Troy Murphy beefin` in New Jersey?

Troy Murphy will be activated for tomorrow’s game against Portland, coach Avery Johnson says, which should represent his first NBA action since Nov. 13. But the 30-year-old said that’s news to him. The New Jersey native indicated that he doesn’t speak with Johnson — "not at all" — and expressed frustration with the coach’s critiques of his fitness. "You have to ask (Johnson why he thinks I wasn’t in shape)," Murphy said. "I’ve been in this league for 10 years. I know what I do. I pride myself in all that. You have to ask him." Just minutes earlier, Johnson said he has held Murphy out of the lineup and off the roster "out of respect to him."
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Both are at fault. Both should be careful.

Like it or not, Avery Johnson has a reputation. Known as The Little General during his playing days, Johnson’s demanding style has rubbed players the wrong way.

For instance, he clashed with Devin Harris when they were together with the Dallas Mavericks (Harris did endorse Johnson as coach of the Nets). Clearly, he and Troy Murphy are having issues.

Beefing with good players is fine, especially when you have championship rings from your playing days. Beefing with a future member of the basketball Hall of Fame is not fine.

Johnson couldn’t click with legendary table-setter Jason Kidd in Dallas. This was part of the reason he was fired by Team Mark Cuban.

The NBA is a small world. Players, executives, and owners talk. Right or wrong, confrontational coaches are a thing of the past.

So Johnson may want to be less antagonistic –or he’ll find himself on the outside looking in like former Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell and basketball genius Eric Musselman.

(For the record, Mitchell and Musselman can coach. Both deserve better.)

Of course, Murphy is walking also rather precarious line. He’s had moments, but never lived up to his potential with the Golden State Warriors or Indiana Pacers.

Murphy also never lived up to the six-year, $60 million extension he signed with the Warriors in 2004. Murphy’s hometown Nets acquired him for his expiring contract.

The southpaw will be looking for a team this summer. Feuding with Johnson will cost him millions of dollars; after all, the free agent market will be affected by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Johnson and Murphy need to find common ground. Or they must keep their squabbles private. The current situation isn’t good for either of them.

–Oly Sandor.

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