New Blockbuster Trade Proposal Sends Dejounte Murray Back To The Spurs, Hawks Regain Some Control Over Their Future

Should the Hawks trade Dejounte Murray back to the Spurs?
Apr 14, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) in the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) in the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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With the onset of the NBA offseason, the Atlanta Hawks's current backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray is widely expected to be split up in the off-season. Murray and Young's playstyles are a mismatch. Across the 1172 minutes they played in the 2023-24 regular season, lineups with both Young and Murray finished with a -6.5 net rating on average. That underlies the point that both require the ball in their hands to maximize their skills and don't work well in an off-ball context. Two primary creators who function as lead playmakers are going to struggle to play next to each other.

Interestingly, Murray alluded to this in a conversation with Young on Young's podcast, From the Point, in a April 8th episode. He stated:

"We're two point guards. Let's just make that clear: two point guards.”

To rectify this, Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley proposed a trade that would send Murray to the San Antonio Spurs. Trading Murray back to the Spurs after the Hawks initially sent three first-round picks to San Antonio to get him in the first place would certainly be uncomfortable. However, the Hawks should not let the sunk-cost fallacy dictate their next move. If the Spurs are interested in Murray's services and are willing to return one of Atlanta's picks in the deal, then the Hawks should be interested.

The proposed trade details are below:

Hawks get: Tre Jones, the No. 8 pick and a 2025 first-round pick (Atlanta's own)

Spurs get: Dejounte Murray

Buckley outlines his logic below:

If the Hawks part with both Murray and Trae Young, they have to find a way to get their 2025 first-round pick back from the Spurs. Since San Antonio needs a dynamic playmaker to put around Victor Wembanyama, and Atlanta happens to have one who is already familiar with the Alamo City, this feels doable. The Spurs were mostly atrocious this season, but when Wembanyama played with an actual point guard, they competed. In the 1,288 minutes he logged with Jones, San Antonio outscored the opposition by 4.3 points per 100 possessions. For context, that figure would've ranked as this season's seventh-best net rating. If the 20-year-old was that good with Jones, what kind of damage could he do with Murray? The answer is intriguing enough for the Spurs to take the plunge.

The Hawks would do this deal for the picks, primarily that unprotected first in a 2025 draft that could have multiple franchise-level prospects at the top. Jones could be a sneaky-good get, too, though. If Atlanta wanted to let the kids run wild for a season, it might still covet an offensive caretaker who makes sure things don't go totally off track.

I think this trade only makes sense under the assumption that the Hawks are entering a full-scale rebuild. Buckley is constructing this deal based on the idea that the Hawks are interested in moving both Young and Murray. While this has been reported by NBA insider and analyst Bill Simmons, I do not think trading both of them away makes sense for Atlanta. That being said, regaining control of their 2025 first-round pick would be essential if they decide to go down that route. Still, the Hawks entering a rebuild without owning their picks in 2026 and 2027 (all controlled by San Antonio) would be a risky venture. They would have some picks from a Young deal, but it does not maximize the rebuild's chances of success. I think Atlanta would be better served trying to maximize Young's All-Star and All-NBA talent as a primary playmaker and scorer alongside a more complementary lineup.

In the more likely scenario that the Hawks keep Young, I do not think Tre Jones is a fit on the Hawks' roster. He showed progression as a three-point shooter, going from 27% for his career to 38.8% in the games after becoming a full-time starter. Jones is a solid passer and shows good defensive instincts. However, he will likely never be a positive on the defensive end due to being 6'2 with a 6'4 wingspan.

If the Hawks do indeed trade Young and Murray, he can definitely run an NBA offense. That being said, running him next to Young or Murray would be a mistake. While Young's defense has taken strides, a backcourt of him and Jones is extremely small and susceptible to mismatches. Murray has a reputation as a good defender, but his defensive impact has trailed off in recent seasons. With their current roster makeup, Atlanta would probably think about this deal more if the Spurs replaced Jones with Keldon Johnson, who played well as a sixth man for San Antonio last season. However, that seems unlikely because the Spurs' motivation in this trade is to replace Jones with Murray.

Even if Murray is not a Spur, expect his name to be in plenty of trade conversations this summer. The offseason began in earnest today with the Chicago Bulls trading possible Hawks target Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder and I would expect things to only ramp up from here.

Rohan Raman