Tue. Jan 31st, 2023


The Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs are discussing a trade centered around All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray, according to Zach Klein of ABC Atlanta and Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Interestingly, the proposed deal would not involve former rumored Spurs target John Collins. Instead, it would be based on the partially guaranteed contract of Danilo Gallinari and multiple draft picks. Reports had previously suggested that landing Murray would cost at least three first-round picks.

The logic of such a trade for Atlanta is obvious. Murray is one of the NBA’s best defensive point guards, so pairing him with Trae Young would balance out their backcourt significantly while giving Atlanta another reliable ball-handler for Young’s always precarious bench minutes. Having another point guard in the starting lineup, especially one who struggles as much as a shooter as Murray does, might force Young to focus on moving off of the ball more, which his game probably needs. 

The bigger question here is why San Antonio, coming off of a play-in berth, is so eager to move off of a 25-year-old All-Star. The answer, in all likelihood, is two words: Victor Wembanyama. The French center is the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and is one of the best prospects to enter the NBA in years. A 7-2 center with a steady 3-point shot, ball skills, Rudy Gobert-esque length and impressive mobility, Wembanyama is the sort of player teams frequently sacrifice seasons to draft. Moving Murray would push the Spurs towards a season in the tank, and after landing Tim Duncan in 1997, they know well how valuable such a season can be in the long run. 

The Hawks control all of their own first-round picks, so sending San Antonio a pick-centric package should be easy enough. The major question is how much value those picks would actually have. A team built around Young and Murray should be quite good, so the Hawks would have to give up quite a bit to entice the Spurs into sacrificing Murray.

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