With the top of the Eastern Conference standings being dominated by the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, it would only seem reasonable that these two teams would be battling for the top available talent after the trade deadline has passed and players have agreed to buyouts. The top two players that fit this bill were Washington Wizards new addition Mike Bibby and Golden Stat’s Troy Murphy. Both were heavily courted by both the Heat and Celtics and while both teams were looking to take both players, it ended up being a split.
Mike Bibby, who shocked many by giving up the $6.2 million he was due next season on the final year of his contract to be bought out, decided on the Miami Heat as his destination of choice. The Heat has been in desperate need for a serviceable point guard all season and while Bibby, in his advancing basketball age, may not have the skills he once had, he’s still a dangerous shooter and will give Miami more options beyond the ‘Big Three’.
"He sacrificed some money in order to win a championship," said David Falk, Bibby’s agent. "Once you’re past 10, 11 years in the league, you want to be in a situation where you can win.”
The Heat were also looking to sign Troy Murphy, a 6-11 forward who has shot 39.1 percent on 3-pointers in his career and averaged 8.5 rebounds a game, but lost out to the Celtics on him after Murphy decided that Boston was the better fit for his skills.
“It was a very tough decision,’’ said Murphy. “The Celtics and Heat are both great organizations that really do play the right way.
“Going to the Celtics, I feel like I could help them, being another piece that could help them. They have had a lot of success over the past couple of years in the playoffs and I look forward to being out there.’’
With the playoffs looming as the season winds down, both teams are still looking to make any improvements to their roster that may help them come playoff time. The next target of choice for the two teams appear to be Corey Brewer. Brewer, a 6-9 swingman, was part of the three-team,13-player trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. He was surprisingly waived Tuesday by the Knicks and is now coveted by a number of teams.
Brewer, drafted 7th overall in 2007, started all 82 games for the Wolves last season and averaged a career-high 13 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He found his starts limited to 22 this season, dropping his numbers to 8.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.