Dejounte Murray

Southeast Notes: Martin, Ball, Cooks, Murray

Cody Martin is doing his best to help the Hornets as a leader from the sidelines, but it’s not a role he enjoys, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. A troublesome left knee has limited Martin to seven games in his first season since signing a four-year, $31MM contract.

Martin’s injury problems began in training camp, Boone notes, and he was only able to suit up for one of the team’s five preseason games. Martin played just 56 seconds in the regular season opener and underwent arthroscopic surgery on November 11. He returned in early January after missing 37 games, but could only play six more times before being sidelined again.

“You never go into a season thinking something like this is going to happen,” Martin said. “You are not really ever prepared for it. It’s very, very frustrating. This is the first time I’ve ever had to sit out for an extended period of time. So I’m just trying to do my best to be positive mentally and just continue to do whatever I can rehab-wise and do what the training staff is saying. Unfortunately, it’s taken this long. I’m just trying to be smart with it, I’m just trying to be consistent with it, just do whatever I can.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • After undergoing ankle surgery three weeks ago, Hornets guard LaMelo Ball said he’s dedicated to rehab and plans to be 100% by the start of training camp, Boone tweets. Ball added that he still enjoys being in Charlotte, saying, “Yeah, I love it here.”
  • Fresh off winning an NBL title with the Sydney Kings, Xavier Cooks hopes to help the Wizards with their playoff push, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Australian forward signed with the team on Friday and made his NBA debut Saturday night. “It’s been a lifelong dream to get here,” Cooks said. “It’s taken me 27 years to get here. I’m, what, five years out of college? My dream is a little bit different than everybody else’s.”
  • Hawks guard Dejounte Murray feels like he got “closure” when Spurs fans gave him a warm reception in his return to San Antonio for Sunday’s game, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I felt like it was what it should be,” Murray said. “We showed nothing but love, both sides, from myself, the fans, the organization.”

Southwest Notes: Morant, Brooks, Murray, Pelicans, Rockets

Tonight marks the final game of Ja Morant‘s suspension, but coach Taylor Jenkins confirmed that Morant is unlikely to play on Monday when the Grizzlies host the Mavericks, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Monday will be Morant’s first day back at the team facility after being out of action since March 3, and Jenkins said his All-Star guard will need some time to get ready.

“It’s a good chance he’s probably out for the Monday game because it’s going to be his first day back with the team,” Jenkins said. “Our anticipation is he’s at least out Monday, and then we’ll cross the bridge for Wednesday as we get a little bit closer.”

The Grizzlies will host the Rockets on Wednesday and Friday, and although Morant is likely to play in at least one of those games, Cole states that the team hasn’t reached a final decision. He adds that Morant’s minutes will be monitored whenever he returns.

“From a basketball standpoint, we know this guy and how he is wired,” Jenkins said. “I know he’s putting in work, staying ready, and he’s going to be chomping at the bit to get out there with his teammates on Monday and Tuesday, and we’ll see what Wednesday holds.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies are talking to league officials about rescinding Dillon Brooks‘ most recent technical foul, his 17th this season, Cole tweets. Jenkins said Brooks was walking away from a confrontation when the technical was assessed. Brooks was already suspended for one game when he reached 16 technicals this season and would face an additional one-game suspension for every two techs he accumulates the rest of the way.
  • Dejounte Murray isn’t sure what kind of reception to expect Sunday in his first game back in San Antonio since the Spurs traded him to the Hawks, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Some fans are upset about statements and social media posts from Murray regarding his time in the city. “At the end of the day, I love this city, I love the San Antonio Spurs organization, the Austin Spurs, I love everything about it,” Murray said Saturday. “However it goes (Sunday) is however it goes. But I am excited to see the people I love and care about.”
  • The Pelicans‘ decision to let Zion Williamson run the offense has resulted in a lot of inefficiency when he’s not available, states Christian Clark of NOLA. New Orleans has the fourth-worst record in the league since Williamson was lost with a hamstring injury in early January and is 26th in points per 100 possessions over that span.
  • The Rockets will likely be aggressive in trying to trade down in the draft if their first-round pick doesn’t land in the top three in the lottery, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

Southeast Notes: Murray, Oladipo, O. Robinson, Isaac

Hawks guard Dejounte Murray received a $500K bonus earlier this week after he converted his 123rd three-pointer, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links).

As Marks notes, the bonus was considered unlikely because Murray had never previously reached that milestone. Atlanta’s 2022/23 team salary will increase by $500K as a result, moving that number just $1.1MM below the luxury tax threshold.

The bonus will also impact Murray’s cap hit for next season, bumping it from $17.7MM up to $18.2MM, Marks adds. The Hawks were tracking the likelihood of the bonus being reached, plus they added Saddiq Bey, which is why they were motivated to make a salary-dump trade at the deadline, according to Marks.

Through 61 games (36.4 MPG) in his first season with Atlanta, Murray is averaging 21.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.0 APG and 1.5 SPG on .467/.362/.847 shooting. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Victor Oladipo has had plenty of highs and lows in 2022/23. He missed the first 24 games of the season with a knee injury, but he played in his 35th game on Friday night versus Cleveland and appears on track to play his most games since 2018/19, when he suffered a major quad injury. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, Oladipo has struggled with inconsistency on offense, but has played solid defense thus far. “Everybody goes through stuff, everybody goes things,” the Heat guard said. “It’s about how you have resolve and how resilient you are, it really defines who you are as a person and defines who you are as a man. So I’m just going to continue to keep getting better and staying aggressive.”
  • The Heat signed a couple of frontcourt veterans last month in Kevin Love and Cody Zeller, which removed Orlando Robinson from the rotation. The rookie center, who is on a two-way deal with Miami, only has four active games remaining as part of his contract, so the temporary plan is to send Robinson back to the G League for playing time, Chiang writes in a subscriber-only story for The Miami Herald. The Heat have enough wiggle room beneath the tax line to convert Robinson to a standard deal if they want to, but the problem is their 15-man roster is full, so they don’t appear to be in any rush on that decision, Chiang notes.
  • Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link) believes it’s time for the Magic to move on from Jonathan Isaac, who underwent season-ending adductor surgery after appearing in just 11 games. Bianchi heaps praise on Isaac off the court and believes he has plenty of potential on it, but says his lengthy injury history makes it too risky to keep him around. Isaac missed all of ’20/21 and ’21/22 while recovering from a torn ACL, and missed a significant amount of time in his first three seasons as well. The 25-year-old’s contract for next season is partially guaranteed for $7.6MM, but it would be “silly” to bring him back and pay him his full $17.4MM salary, according to Bianchi.

Hawks Notes: Resslers, Front Office, Snyder, Young, Bogdanovic

Hawks owner Tony Ressler believes his team has underachieved this season, which is why he decided to overhaul the front office and signed off on the new group’s plan to replace head coach Nate McMillan with Quin Snyder, he tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

According to Ressler, he’s staying out of basketball decisions and has given new general manager Landry Fields the autonomy to make those calls. The Hawks’ owner said he removed Travis Schlenk from his role as the team’s head of basketball operations because he wasn’t happy with the front office’s level of “collaboration and communication,” per Wojnarowski.

“I can tell you this: Landry and (assistant GM) Kyle (Korver) are running a much better, much more collaborative front office,” Ressler said. “That’s of huge importance to me because I think that’s how you get better. Having ownership, a front office, a coaching staff and the right roster — when all of those folks work well together, I think results improve. That was the objective and that’s why I made the change that I did.”

There has been some skepticism about the new-look Hawks’ front office due to the relatively inexperienced nature of the head executives, along with the reported empowerment of Tony’s son Nick Ressler. However, the elder Ressler expressed full confidence in the new group.

“What I’ve always done is rely on people who know more than I do to run a business better than I could,” Ressler said to ESPN. “Who makes the decisions (now), it’s undoubtedly Landry with Kyle — with (head coach) Quin (Snyder). (They) are going to work beautifully together from what I can tell. I do believe we will make better decisions going forward than we have done in the past.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • In a separate interview with Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ressler insisted that his son Nick’s influence in the basketball operations department has been overstated. “Nick works in the organization, helps me in both the business and basketball operations, helps me understand the goings-on of the organization, if you will, helps me evaluate what we’re doing,” Tony said. “But he sits in the same role (I do). He’s in ownership, but is full time to the organization. So the simple answer, is ‘No, he’s not in charge of any (basketball) decision-making.'”
  • Although the Hawks have made some roster moves this year that seemed aimed at avoiding the luxury tax, Ressler insists those moves weren’t driven by him. “We’re not worried about the luxury tax,” he told Williams. “… Do I think it’s a good idea to be incredibly average (and) in the luxury tax? I’d rather not. I’d rather be contending in the luxury tax or being a great team in the luxury tax. But at the end of the day, I’ve never suggested a trade to get out of the luxury tax ever. Whoever said that will be giving you an untruth, directly, indirectly, intentionally, unintentionally. Never said it. Never will.”
  • Rival executives lauded the Hawks for the hiring of Snyder, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who spoke to Williams for the latest HoopsHype podcast. There have been suggestions that Snyder may have taken the job in part to have a bigger say in roster changes — when Williams spoke to Snyder she got the impression that while Fields and Korver will “weigh his opinion pretty heavily,” but she doesn’t believe Snyder’s voice will be the “end all and be all.”
  • Williams also touched on the slow-developing chemistry of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, saying “they’re still learning from each other” and suggesting that the two guards may not have a close relationship. Williams is surprised by that because Young was eager to team up with Murray in the offseason. Williams says Young “is a nice guy,” but has heard “sometimes he has some trouble endearing himself to his teammates off the court,” though she says people like playing with him.
  • Veteran wing Bogdan Bogdanovic is expected to decline his $18MM player option for 2023/24 and enter unrestricted free agency, says Scotto. Williams is a little skeptical Bogdanovic will exceed $18MM per year on his next contract due to his injury history, but Scotto believes he could at least equal, if not exceed, that total on annual basis, noting that the salary cap is expected to go up each year for the foreseeable future. It could be tricky for Atlanta to re-sign Bogdanovic, Scotto adds, citing luxury tax concerns.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

Hawks Notes: Young, Snyder, Lineups, Murray

The bond between maximum-salaried Hawks star point guard Trae Young and newly signed head coach Quin Snyder will be imperative to establish for the future of the club, per Jeff Schultz of The Athletic.

“My focus with Trae is on what lies ahead,” Snyder said. “It’s an opportunity for both of us to make each other better, to challenge him and for him to respond and grow. He’s had so much success at a young age, and this is a tough league and you become highly scrutinized with everything you do. The discussions we’ve had is, let’s just get better. I’m not going to be right all the time and that’s the partnership that allows people to grow together. That relationship is important to me and I think it’s important to him.”

Rumored tensions between Young and former head coach Nate McMillan clearly soured that duo’s dynamic, and seem to have played a part in McMillan’s firing late last month.

There’s more out of Atlanta:

  • Snyder elaborated on his decision to take over the head coaching gig midway through the 2022/23 season, as opposed to waiting to sign on until the summer, per ESPN/The Associated Press. “It’s always a challenge, but those challenges are often most rewarding and the best opportunity,” Snyder said. “As I thought about it, I think the opportunity to come in now, although maybe challenging, is also an opportunity to hopefully go on a run… Also, and I think these things are not mutually exclusive, to begin to build a foundation, a culture.”
  • Hard choices await Snyder with Atlanta, details John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger opines that he may want to start by juicing up the team’s three-point shooting and moving new addition Saddiq Bey into the starting five for power forward John Collins. Hollinger also has a few other small improvements in mind for freeing up the club’s offense, as well as team-building ideas beyond 2022/23.
  • For his part, Hawks shooting guard Dejounte Murray appears to be excited to collaborate with Snyder, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For me, it’s his attention to detail,” Murray said of the element that most stands out in Snyder’s coaching technique. “He’s already been breaking down film, since there’s been a conversation for him to come here, and just listening to everything from defensive personnel to the offense of focusing on getting more mismatches and everything we want to do just to come together and build toward being a great team.”

D’Angelo Russell Rumors: Extension Talks, Heat, Lowry, Suns

Prior to a blockbuster trade to acquire Rudy Gobert in the offseason, the Timberwolves explored the possibility of acquiring Dejounte Murray instead, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

According to Fischer, extension talks between the Wolves and guard D’Angelo Russell went nowhere in the offseason, and there’s a belief among rival teams that Minnesota is open to moving him. It’s unclear if those extension talks came before or after the team’s interest in Murray, but clearly there was a difference of opinion on value.

A couple weeks ago, Brian Windhorst of ESPN floated a hypothetical on his Hoop Collective podcast wondering if the Wolves would consider calling the Heat about Kyle Lowry in exchange for Russell’s $31.4MM expiring contract. Lowry has one more year on his deal at $29.7MM, and Windhorst thought Miami might be open to moving him due to future luxury tax concerns, though he admitted he wasn’t sure how the Heat would view Russell’s fit.

A couple days later, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype wrote about Russell’s situation and explored the idea of Russell-Lowry swap. Russell unfollowed the Wolves on social media the same day, which raised some eyebrows.

Yeah, it’s my life,” the Russell told Fischer of paying attention to rumors. “That’s it. Just be conscious of it.”

While neither of those instances were actual rumors, Fischer hears from sources that the Heat have actually shown interest in Russell, but says a “direct deal for Lowry would appear unlikely.” Fischer suggests the Wolves might be hesitant to acquire Lowry due to his contract and the possibility of having to extend him or risk losing him for nothing, much like their current situation with Russell.

Fischer writes that there isn’t much of a market for lead guards with large salaries, but rival executives are watching the Clippers and Suns as teams looking for backcourt upgrades. The Suns were linked to Russell a handful of years ago, and he’s close with star Devin Booker, per Fischer.

Hawks Rumors: Schlenk, Ressler, Murray, Collins

The Hawks‘ impending promotion of Kyle Korver to assistant general manager is just one of many changes taking place in the team’s front office this season, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

According to Amick, although the Hawks announced last month that Travis Schlenk would be moving into an advisory role after stepping down from his president of basketball operations position, league sources tell The Athletic that Schlenk is no longer part of the operation in Atlanta and is free to leave for another team if he so chooses.

Nick Ressler, the 27-year-old son of Hawks owner Tony Ressler, has had “increasing influence” on both roster and staffing decisions since becoming the franchise’s director of business and basketball operations in December 2020, Amick explains, adding that the younger Ressler’s “effect on the decision-making process” was a factor in Schlenk’s departure.

Amick describes the Dejounte Murray trade as the “beginning of the end” for the previous regime in Atlanta, reporting that Schlenk expressed reservations about the price the team paid for the former Spurs guard (three first-round picks, including two unprotected, and a pick swap). Nick Ressler was the driving force behind that move, per Amick.

The “messinessinvolving head coach Nate McMillan in early December also played a part in ownership’s final decision on Schlenk, according to Amick, who adds that Tony Ressler may bring in a more experienced executive at some point to help fill out a fairly green front office. There has also been plenty of chatter about the possibility of the Hawks adding more former players to their basketball operations department, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s most active teams in trade talks in recent weeks and is very much in the market for immediate help, as opposed to trying to recoup draft picks, Amick writes. It’s clear the Hawks’ priority is still to win as soon as possible despite a disappointing start to this season (the team’s record is 19-22).
  • Rival executives who have spoken to the Hawks about John Collins indicate that the asking price has come down considerably compared to where it was in past years, says Amick. League sources tell The Athletic that there are some scenarios in which Atlanta is simply asking for a quality player in return for Collins, as opposed to that player plus draft capital.
  • Speaking to Amick, Collins referred to Schlenk’s “advisory role” using air quotes and suggested that the Hawks’ players hadn’t received a full explanation for the front office changes. Murray, meanwhile, admitted that his first season in Atlanta has been more turbulent than he anticipated. “I mean, there’s a lot going on (that’s) non-basketball,” Murray said. “And then with basketball, you’ve got guys in trade rumors.”
  • Here’s more from Murray on that outside noise: “I wouldn’t say more than what I expected, but more than where I came from in San Antonio where everything was just not as loud. There’s a lot going on, but for me I’m just trying to keep guys together with my leadership, showing up to work, working hard, being vocal and keeping us together, and trying to keep the outside noise the outside noise. But at the end of the day, we all see it. You can’t hide. You can’t run from it. … At the end of the day, winning takes care of it all. So we need to control what we can control, continue to come together as brothers, and try to go out and win basketball games.”

Eastern Notes: Collins, Murray, Durant, Claxton, Ball

Hawks forward John Collins could return to action on Monday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Collins is listed as questionable to play against Orlando. Collins has been sidelined by a left ankle sprain since the beginning of the month. At that time, he was expected to miss at least two weeks, so he has progressed on schedule.

Collins is having a down season by his standards — through 22 games (31.5 MPG), he’s averaging 12.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.4 BPG on .484/.219/.845 shooting. The Hawks big man has been the subject of numerous trade rumors and his return to action could facilitate a potential deal.

Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (left ankle sprain) is also listed as questionable. He hasn’t played since departing early against the Knicks on Dec. 7.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The red-hot Nets are playing at Detroit on Sunday and Kevin Durant believes the team has turned the corner, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. They entered the game against the Pistons on a five-game winning streak. “Yeah, we just figured out, we’re understanding the way we want to play,” Durant said. “That’s always the good part about finding your identity in the league is that now you can start relaxing a bit going into games, preparing. It’s cool because you know your role, you understand exactly how we want to play.”
  • Nets big man Nic Claxton isn’t bashful when discussing his defensive prowess. Claxton believes he should be in the discussion for the Defensive Player of the Year award, he said in a YES Network interview (hat tip to “Honestly, I feel that I am one of the best defenders in the league. I feel I should be in the top for the Defensive Player of the Year,” he said. “I feel like I wasn’t getting the respect I deserve. We’re winning, my numbers are good protecting the rim, guarding 1 through 5.” Claxton is averaging 2.3 blocks, including a season-high six against Toronto on Friday.
  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is “progressing towards (running),” coach Billy Donovan told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link) and other media members. There’s no timetable on when he’ll be cleared to try running. Ball will require a “significant ramp-up” period for conditioning after he starts running before he can finally return to action. Ball hasn’t played since January due to persistent knee issues.

Hawks’ Dejounte Murray Out Two Weeks With Left Ankle Sprain

5:41pm: The Hawks have officially announced Murray’s injury, confirming that he will miss at least two weeks (Twitter link).

2:13pm: Murray is expected to miss two weeks due to the injury, sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).

12:40pm: Hawks guard Dejounte Murray will undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the left ankle sprain (Twitter link) that caused him to exit yesterday’s loss in New York after only four minutes of action, tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fellow starting guard Trae Young missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, per Williams. The Hawks are waiting to see if he recovers in time to play in tomorrow’s game at Brooklyn.

Atlanta is already down two starters at the moment. Power forward John Collins out at least one more week with his own left ankle sprain, while small forward De’Andre Hunter is dealing with a right hip flexor strain.

Hunter was set to be reevaluated today and was a partial participant in practice, according to Williams (Twitter link). His status for Friday’s game is unclear.

The Hawks traded two unprotected first-round picks (2025 and 2027), an unprotected pick swap (2026), and Charlotte’s 2023 top-16 protected first-rounder to acquire Murray, a first-time All-Star last season with the Spurs. Through 25 games in 2022/23 (35.6 minutes), he’s averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.8 steals on .452/.366/.836 shooting for the 13-12 Hawks.

Spurs Notes: Bassey, Bates-Diop, White, Murray, Primo

Last month, Charles Bassey was trying to keep his job with the Sixers, but he’s been given a much larger role since joining the Spurs, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. On October 13, Philadelphia waived the 22-year-old, who had fallen to fourth on the team’s center depth chart after the signing of Montrezl Harrell. Eleven days later, Bassey got a second chance with San Antonio on a two-way contract.

“He knows his role,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounds, blocks shots, runs the floor, and he does it with a lot of energy.”

Bassey has more than doubled his playing time in his second NBA season, averaging 6.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per night. He only appeared in just 23 games as a rookie, but he’s still thankful for the opportunity he got from Sixers coach Doc Rivers.

“Me and Doc, we were good,” Bassey said. “Doc was one of the coaches I was excited to play for, but everything didn’t work out. Both these coaches (Rivers and Popovich) have coached great guys. Doc coached ‘KG’ (Kevin Garnett in Boston) and Pop has coached Tim Duncan. Philly gave me the opportunity to play in this league, and I am grateful to that organization. But playing for the Spurs right now is a dream come true.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Since joining the Spurs last season, Keita Bates-Diop has learned to be ready for anything, Orsborn adds in a separate story. That was useful Thursday night in Sacramento when he found out shortly before game time that he would be starting because Keldon Johnson was sidelined by ankle soreness. “I am always constantly ready when I hear a guy is maybe in, maybe out,” Bates-Diop said. “My mind is always ready regardless.”
  • Watching Derrick White and Dejounte Murray square off in Wednesday’s Celtics-Hawks game was a reminder that the Spurs have moved on from what appeared to be their backcourt of the future, notes Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio traded White to Boston in February and dealt Murray to Atlanta in June, and the Spurs are now building around Johnson and Devin Vassell.
  • Although Dr. Hillary Cauthen has reportedly settled her lawsuit against the Spurs and Joshua Primo, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its investigation of the case as it considers possible criminal charges, Orsborn tweets.