The Bucks have interest in claiming former Bulls big man Erik Murphy off waivers, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. If they submit a claim before Murphy clears waivers Saturday afternoon, he’ll go to Milwaukee, since the Bucks are the league’s worst team and therefore would have priority over any other club that attempts to claim him. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote Thursday that he’d be surprised if Murphy cleared waivers, so other teams may be hoping the Bucks don’t prevent them from acquiring the 6’10” rookie.
Waiver claims aren’t typical, and Murphy saw just 62 total minutes with the Bulls this season, but teams around the league are apparently intrigued with the upside of the 23-year-old who was the 49th overall pick in the 2013 draft. His minimum-salary deal is non-guaranteed for next season, becoming partially guaranteed for $100K if he remains under contract through August 1st and for $200K if he makes it to November 1st. Any team can claim him, since he’s making the minimum salary, but his cap hit for this season would be more onerous than that of a free agent signee on a prorated contract for the final 11 days of the season.
Milwaukee or any other team that claims him would assume the cap hit for his $490,180 salary, and the money would be wiped from Chicago’s books. That could wind up saving the Bulls from paying the tax this year, as I explained earlier. The Bulls released Murphy on Thursday to make way for a veteran replacement, and a waiver claim would make it easier for Chicago to sign two players, which the team is reportedly considering. Ronnie Brewer and Mike James appear to be Chicago’s targets.
The Bucks wouldn’t have to make a corresponding move to acquire Murphy, since their final roster spot opened this evening when their 10-day contract with D.J. Stephens expired. The team doesn’t plan to re-sign the shooting guard.