The Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs are discussing a potential trade for point guard Dejounte Murray that would involve multiple first-round draft picks and Danilo Gallinari.
Murray led the NBA in steals last season, averaging two picks per game and developing into one of the top defensive point guards in the NBA thanks to a close mentorship from Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Murray earned a spot on the 2022 All-Star team as an injury replacement. He averaged 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game in 68 games with the Spurs last season. He also had a 22.32 PER rating, which ranked him #13 overall in the NBA.
Murray grew up in Seattle and led his high school team to a state championship while earning Mr. Basketball honors. He declined numerous college scholarship offers to blue-chip programs, yet decided to stay at home in Seattle to play with the Washington Huskies. The Spurs selected Murray with a late first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and he’s enjoyed a steady yet gradual accession, improving his scoring average each season.
Hawks: DJ and Trae backcourt?
The Hawks are drooling over the possibility of teaming Trae Young with Murray. That would free Young up to play more off the ball, while Murray takes over as a traditional point guard. Young is a scoring superstar, but defense isn’t his strength. The addition of Murray would provide the Hawks with a top defender in their backcourt.
Murray, 25, has two years remaining on his existing contract that’s worth $16.5 million this season, and $17.7 million next season. Considering his numbers last season, that’s a steal for the Hawks.
Any Hawks/Spurs trade for Murray would have to include forward Danilo Gallinari, along with a portion of his salary. It’s expected that the Spurs will waive Gallinari after his acquisition, but the Hawks would be on the hook for $11 million.
The Hawks might have to cough up as many as three first-round picks to the Spurs to seal a trade for Murray, but they have plenty of draft capital in the bank to make a deal happen.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are still shopping John Collins, who has grown unhappy with his role over the past two seasons. The Spurs aren’t interested in including Collins in any trade with the Hawks including Murray.
The Hawks finished 43-39 last season –eighth overall in the Eastern Conference — which was a huge disappointment considering they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in the 2021 playoffs. The Hawks secured the #8 seed via the Play-In Tournament, but were eliminated by the #1 Miami Heat in just five games.
Heading into this upcoming season, the Hawks are +6500 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship, according to DraftKings.
Spurs: Tanking for Wembanyama
The San Antonio Spurs look like they want to tank this upcoming season for a shot at drafting Victor Wembanyama – the top prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft – out of France. Pops loves big men and has an affinity for European players. Wembanyama is the most-coveted center prospect in several years, and the Spurs have been looking for a legit big man ever since Tim Duncan retired.
Wembanyama has a sweet 3-point shot, and scouts think he handles the ball extremely well for a 7-foot-2 big man. If the Spurs move Murray, it’s because they want to hit the lottery with Wembanyama.
The Spurs had a losing record last season at 34-48, but they finished 10th in the conference, edging out the Los Angeles Lakers to qualify for the Western Conference Play-In Tournament. They were eliminated by the New Orleans Pelicans, who would go on to win the Play-In Tournament and secure the #8 seed.
The Spurs are a long shot at +35000 odds to win the title this season.
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