Former Jazz first-round draft picks Blue Edwards and Eric Murdock seem almost as fatefully linked as Jazz All-Stars Karl Malone and John Stockton. Edwards and Murdock are together for the third time in their careers with the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies.
A team that's only won 10 games and nearly set an NBA record losing 19 straight (the record's 20) is an endless string of wouldas, couldas and if-onlies, but both players try to look on the sunny side."You know what?" said Edwards Wednesday night in the Delta Center after a 102-79 loss to the Jazz, Vancouver's sixth straight loss, "I'm happy. I'm getting a chance to play. I don't want to be on a good team just sitting and watching," said Edwards, 30, who spent his second stint with the Jazz late last season and was taken by the Grizzlies in summer's expansion draft.
"If I did that, I would rather be in front of my TV where I could have popcorn and soda and play with my kids (6-year-old twins Whitny and Britny, whose names are tattooed in overlapping hearts on Edwards' chest).
"Losing is never easy, but sometimes you take the good with the bad," says Edwards, who figures when the Grizzlies learn to win, they'll appreciate it more than other teams.
Murdock, 28, still single, was traded by Milwaukee (the other common ground for Edwards and Murdock, who were traded there as a pair by the Jazz in June 1992) to the Grizzlies for Benoit Benjamin on Nov. 27. On an expansion team, he's found himself a nonstarter, playing behind Greg Anthony, though Murdock has led the club in scoring four times including Wednesday and in assists eight times in his 29 games with them.
Murdock isn't fond of not starting and not winning, but he says, "It is a step forward - you make the most that you can, what you want. They're not set. I don't think the organization knows exactly who's going to be there for the long term, so the only thing you can worry about is what you can control, and that's playing as hard as you can, as well as you can, and that's what I'm trying to do.
"Right now, I'm happy," he says.
Murdock likes the city of Vancouver, saying people and weather are friendly. He also likes playing the Jazz, saying if a guard can't get up to play against Stockton, he doesn't belong in the league. "They bring out the best in you," he says.
A Murdock goal is to be with a team that wins and makes the playoffs; he doesn't know if the Grizz are that team or what his future there is.
Edwards, whose daughters have started school, hopes to remain a Grizz to help build the franchise and so his girls have some stability. He enjoys coming back to Salt Lake City, where his daughters were born, and says he wouldn't mind living here again. But he'd just as soon not have a third job with the Jazz because he prefers more playing time.