The NBA Draft is always a crazy time, not just because a new group of players will be entering the league, but because it’s the beginning of the whole NBA offseason. Free agency is right around the corner, but the draft is when the trades and other moves begin to get announced, even though most of them won’t become official until the new league year begins on July 1st. We already saw one big move get made with Jerami Grant getting sent to the Portland Trail Blazers, but that appears to only have been the tip of the iceberg.
Murray has become the latest star subject to trade rumors
Ever since the Grant deal, trade rumors have been flying around like crazy. One name that keeps popping up is San Antonio Spurs star, Dejounte Murray. Murray wasn’t expected to be available in any capacity, so this news quickly caught the attention of the rest of the league.
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported that talks about a deal centered on Murray and Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins had been underway. However, it would take a significant package to pry Murray away from the Spurs. Murray saw that the rumor mill was going crazy and offered a simple response to a tweet from Bleacher Report; uh oh.
Why would the Spurs want to trade Murray, and what would this deal look like?
Murray has improved every season since he entered the league back in 2017, but he had a breakout campaign last season in which he emerged as one of the best players in the league. Murray’s per-game averages (21.1 PPG, 9.2 APG, 8.3 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 46.2 FG%) paint a picture of one of the best all-around players in the league, and well, he was. So why would the Spurs want to move Murray just as he appears to be figuring everything out?
Simply put, the Spurs don’t have the resources to build a contender around Murray right now. Even with Murray leading the way, San Antonio barely qualified for the Play-In Tournament as the #10 seed, and the Los Angeles Clippers quickly eliminated them.
Selling high on Murray would allow the Spurs to begin a rebuild of sorts to build up their next contending team. Getting a solid player in Collins in return would be a great start, but it’s clear Murray is a better player than Collins, meaning the Hawks would have to add on a lot more to land Murray here.
For reference, the Jrue Holiday type package Fischer referenced involved the Milwaukee Bucks getting rid of Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and five future draft picks (three first-rounders, two pick swaps) to land Holiday. Collins is better than Bledsoe and Hill, but Atlanta will have to invest some significant draft capital to pull off this deal.
For Atlanta, the ability to land Murray would be huge. They already have a superstar in Trae Young, but his supporting cast is wildly inconsistent. Murray could function as a secondary ball-handler and scorer to complement Young, and his defensive capabilities would be a welcome sight on one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season.
A trade involving Murray doesn’t necessarily appear to be imminent, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and this will be an exciting storyline to monitor in the buildup to the draft. A Murray/Collins deal could lead to the fall of the Spurs while also allowing the Hawks to take the next step forward in a crowded Eastern Conference. Rarely do deals accomplish that, but that’s what makes this potential trade so interesting, and it bears watching over the next few days.