Murray says the arrangement with the Spurs fell through because they offered him $6.6 million over three years instead of the $8.9 million they could have offered. San Antonio says it offered the higher amount. "There are always verbal agreements, but nothing was ever concrete," Murray says. "Then the Cavaliers came in with a sign-and-trade that was financially better for me. Cleveland just wanted me more than San Antonio."
So the Spurs' quest continues. The silver lining in the Murray flip-flop is that his joining the Cavaliers may make free-agent small forward Cedric Henderson less likely to return to Cleveland. San Antonio is pursuing Henderson, as well as free agent Shandon Anderson of the Jazz, with the $2.6 million exception the league granted it because of Elliott's illness.
Shawn Kemp, Phone Home
The Cavaliers' front office hopes that power forward Shawn Kemp has just lost its phone number. Otherwise there may be trouble brewing. At week's end the Cleveland brass hadn't heard from Kemp in more than a month. There has been speculation that Kemp wanted Isiah Thomas to be the Cavs' new coach and is upset that Cleveland hired Randy Witt-man instead, but no one has been able to reach Kemp to ask him. That includes new general manager Jim Paxson, who last spoke with Kemp in early July. "I heard the rumor about Isiah, but Shawn didn't say anything to me about it," Paxson says of that conversation. "The only concern he expressed was not wanting to be in a rebuilding situation again with a lot of young players."
Since then Kemp hasn't bothered to return repeated messages from Paxson and Wittman (and, last week, SI). Cleveland doesn't need to be reminded that unhappiness with his contract led to a similar off-season silence from Kemp in 1997, and it marked the beginning of the end of his tenure with the Sonics. Although the Cavaliers are trying to put the best face on the situation—"This isn't uncommon," Paxson says. "It's hard to reach a lot of these guys in the summer"—they'd feel much better if Kemp would just pick up the phone.