Jazz Claim Erik Murphy, Waive Andris Biedrins

The Jazz have claimed Erik Murphy off of waivers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Murphy was waived by the Bulls on Thursday, presumably to make room for a perimeter player. We had originally heard that the Bucks might be interested in claiming Murphy, but instead it’s the Jazz who have laid claim to the rookie big man out of Florida. Since the Jazz have a league maximum 15 players on their roster, they’ve opted to waive Andris Biedrins to make room, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.

Murphy, the 49th overall pick in last year’s draft, has played only 62 minutes in 24 contests for Chicago this season. His $490K salary will be wiped from the Bulls’ books and added on to the Jazz’s cap total. By getting Murphy’s contract off their books, the Bulls are now going to be able to remain under the luxury tax, even if Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah reach their earn bonuses. Waiver claims are a rare occurrence in the NBA, but the Jazz must be intrigued enough by Murphy’s size and skillset to take on the extra cap hit. He’ll be on a non-guaranteed, minimum salary deal next season.

To make the move work, the Jazz have waived Biedrins and his $9MM salary. Biedrins was acquired when the Jazz acted as a third-party in the trade that sent Andre Iguodala to the Warriors, but the veteran big man has faced injury problems and played sparingly during his tenure with the team. Utah will continue to be on the hook for his entire salary, providing he clears waivers, which is a near-certainty.

The Bulls catch a break with Utah’s claim of Murphy, whose cap hit will now come off Chicago’s books. This should give them enough room to sign multiple players to prorated minimum-salary contracts and remain beneath the luxury tax threshold even if Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah trigger bonus clauses in their contracts.

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