The Spurs were motivated to trade Dejounte Murray because the agent for the All-Star guard informed the team that he wouldn’t agree to a contract extension, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link, hat tip to Bleacher Report). Murray wasn’t unhappy with his current contract, which runs for two more seasons, Windhorst adds, but recognized he’d have to reach free agency to get a significant raise.
“And that wasn’t really necessarily about the Spurs,” Windhorst said. “His contract is about $16 million on average. When you extend your contract, you’re limited into how much of a raise you can get. And it would’ve been probably below his market value as a 25-year-old All-Star. But he pretty much told them — he’s like, ‘I’m probably not going to extend next summer either.'”
There’s more from San Antonio:
- The three picks and a future draft swap that the Spurs received from Atlanta in return for Murray will pave the way for a full-scale rebuild that the organization was reluctant to do after losing Kawhi Leonard, observes John Hollinger of The Athletic. San Antonio will likely bottom out this season in advance of a strong draft that features French center Victor Wembanyama at the top. Hollinger also notes that the team will have plenty of cap room, both to take on unwanted contracts this season and to potentially offer two max deals next summer.
- The Murray trade isn’t a sign that head coach Gregg Popovich won’t return next season, according to Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News, who says Popovich approved the deal. With the playoffs seemingly out of reach, Popovich can focus on teaching and player development.
- The Spurs had internal discussions about taking back John Collins from the Hawks, but they decided the draft equity was more valuable for the future of the franchise, Finger tweets.
- Former Sixers head coach Brett Brown is expected to rejoin Popovich’s staff as an assistant, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link). Brown was an assistant in San Antonio from 2007-13 before becoming the head coach in Philadelphia.