The Hawks‘ trade for Dejounte Murray was the result of pressure from ownership to improve the roster before Trae Young‘s super-max extension takes effect next season, according to Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Murray is under contract for a combined $34.2MM over the next two years, and while the team doesn’t expect him to agree to an early extension that would limit his future earnings, there’s confidence that he will be a long-term backcourt partner for Young.
Atlanta’s front office had a “sense of confusion and disbelief” that the Spurs were willing to part with Murray, a 25-year-old All-Star with a team-friendly contract, the authors add. Sources tell them that the teams discussed a Murray deal last week, but the Spurs didn’t contact the Hawks for a long time afterward, leading to concerns on Atlanta’s side that San Antonio was reconsidering the trade or may have found a better offer.
San Antonio also discussed Murray with the Timberwolves, but Minnesota wasn’t willing to give up as much as the Hawks eventually did, Kirschner and Amick add. The Knicks were reported as a possible destination, but the authors say they never had trade talks with the Spurs about Murray.
There’s more from Atlanta:
- Amid the chaos surrounding the Nets last week, the Hawks were preparing to have an offer ready in case Kevin Durant asked for a trade, according to Kirschner and Amick.
- Young is “really excited” about the Murray trade, states ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who adds that Atlanta likely isn’t done reshaping its roster (Twitter link).
- The Hawks are facing a shrinking market for John Collins, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a podcast with Kirschner that was recorded Wednesday before the Murray trade was announced. Two potential destinations were eliminated when the Kings drafted Keegan Murray and the Trail Blazers traded for Jerami Grant. Kirschner adds that Atlanta won’t give up Collins without a decent return, so there’s a chance he won’t be traded this offseason.
- Scotto and Kirschner address a number of other Hawks-related items. Atlanta may have interest in a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade but only if it’s less than a max deal, De’Andre Hunter is considered part of the team’s core and could eventually land an extension near $20MM per season, and Delon Wright is much more likely to be re-signed than Lou Williams. Kirschner also cites potential “heat” on Nate McMillan, saying the Hawks will consider a coaching change if they don’t get off to a fast start next season.