Lamond Murray: "I'm glad I'm no longer in a rebuilding situation"
What was your initial reaction when you were informed that you had been traded to the Raptors?
Lamond Murray: I was excited and overjoyed to have an opportunity to play on a playoff team that is pushing for more and playing well. It’s a good opportunity for me, and all I want to make sure is that I help out as much as possible.
What is your impression of Toronto as a basketball city? Have you felt welcomed by the team, coaching staff, and the fans?
LM: I think the fans are great. They show up for the shootarounds. (Laugh) So you can’t complain about that. They give us one hundred percent support with whatever we do, even scrimmages.
How do you see your role on this team as opposed to the role you had carved for yourself in Cleveland? What does your presence on the court mean to the Raptors, aside from your obvious point production?
LM: Well, when I was in Cleveland we really needed guys to score so I did my best to fill that role. But here, in Toronto, we have a lot of guys who can score, guys who can really play, so it’s up to me to come in and add a different dimension to that, off the bench, or whatever role they want me to accept in the course of a game. I’m sure I’ll be happy with that role if I’m contributing to the improvement of the team.
Is there any part of your game that you want to showcase here in Toronto that you didn’t have the opportunity to in Cleveland?
LM: No, not really but there is the stereotype that I’m just a jump shooter, and you know, I want to show that I’m an all around basketball player. That’s one thing I’ve always focused on, even in Cleveland, although everyone understands me as a one-dimensional offensive player because of my reputation to score.
Do you feel your trade was to eventually pave the way to a losing season and a possible drafting of high school phenom LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers? What do you feel about this decision?
LM: Well, yeah, it was so obvious that’s what they were trying to do. I’m just glad I’m no longer in that rebuilding situation, you know, where I’m sitting at the end of the bench and we’re losing. I have to be excited about the opportunity I have here.
Your game is complete and you are widely respected in the league as one of the most underrated players. Do you think you’ve finally stepped out of the shadows to a place where you’ll finally get the exposure you deserve?
LM: Well, yeah, of course, especially with Vince being here and a good supporting cast including Antonio Davis, both All-Stars. I think the exposure here depends on what I do when I get into the game. Anything you do coming off the bench on a good team will be dramatized and appreciated. I’m happy about it.
You’ve averaged about 15 points a game since you entered the league with the Clippers in 1994, and last year was your most productive year. What is your outlook on this team, which likes to run and kick out to players beyond the arc in transition?
LM: I think the style of play here will benefit me. A lot of transition opportunities. They like to kick out to shooters and they encourage my post up play. I like to mix it up. I think I’ll work really well with the offense. Right now I’m trying to find my way on offense, where I fit into the rotation, and once we figure everything out and the regular season starts I’m sure I’ll contribute to the success of this team.
Do you feel the Raptors are close to challenging for the Eastern Conference title?
LM: Everything in the East is up in the air right now. There are plenty of opportunities for teams to advance. It’s going to be a tight race, like it was last year. I think we’re going to do fine.
Dean Serravalle is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
Tell us what you think about this interview. E-mail us at HoopsHype@HoopsHype.com