NBA Trade Intel: Dejounte Murray, Trae Young Intrigue

NBA Trade Intel: Dejounte Murray, Trae Young Intrigue article feature image
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Pictured: Trae Young and Dejounte Murray

Trade season is here! Tis the season for speculation, outdated deal discussions, smokescreens, rival executive projections and all sorts of reports. Here's the latest on what I've heard around the league as the trade market continues to evolve before the NBA Trade Deadline on February 8th, 2024.

The Atlanta Hawks

We'll get to Dejounte Murray, but I want to start with Trae Young.

I have heard the absolute extremes on where the Hawks are at with Young:

  • "Everything is on the table" as Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported, and Young's representation would be open to a very selectively chosen new home for the All-Star.
  • The Hawks are open to trading "anything but Young" and he's the one guy ownership will not give up.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported this week that the Spurs have an interest in trading for Murray after dealing him two years ago for five first-round picks. (Pretty smart, you get a point guard back and you make the team that owes you five picks worse.)

Charania noted that Murray is under contract, so the Spurs have the leverage. However, there are indications Murray doesn't have significant interest in returning to the Spurs.

A more interesting question is if the Spurs and Hawks would have interest in a deal for Young. League sources have suggested that Young's camp would be open — if he is traded, which is a significant clause here — to pairing Young with Victor Wembanyama. The two teams have already done a big trade for Murray, obviously, and Atlanta would surely be interested in getting back some of the draft picks it sent the Spurs for Murray.

The most likely scenario, obviously, is that the Hawks keep Young and continue to build around him as their franchise cornerstone.  But the uncertainty of everything with the Hawks leaves the door open for a lot of outcomes.

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Now for Murray.

Multiple outlets have reported that the Knicks remain interested in Murray after trading OG Anunoby. There will always be some skepticism about the viability of a deal given the Knicks' ties to super-agency CAA and Murray's representation at rival super-agency Klutch Sports. But business is business, and Murray fits the archetype of the kind of two-way player the Knicks want as a star.

However, if we're handicapping where Murray ends up? We start with the Los Angeles Lakers. Murray is a Klutch client, so no surprise there's interest here. But while there was a flurry of discussion about Zach LaVine (also Klutch) a month ago, it's become clear that Murray is the compromise Klutch and the Lakers' front office can reach. The Lakers' front office has leaked that they want a two-way player, which Murray is, and LaVine is not.

Murray is an upgrade in playmaking and defense over D'Angelo Russell, who would be included in any deal. The Hawks, three different league sources asserted this week, would be open to a Lakers deal if it includes Austin Reaves. Reaves has played better individually as of late, but the Lakers are seven points worse per 100 possessions with Reaves on the floor vs. on the bench, the second-worst mark of any rotation player behind the now-benched Jaxson Hayes.

Finally — and I want to stress this is speculative (but interesting) — one league executive suggested keeping an eye on the Cavaliers in Murray talks if the Cavs decide they have to move Donovan Mitchell before the final year of his contract. (Mitchell has a player option for 2025-26, and there has been nothing but a barrage of reporting that Mitchell will not re-sign and prefers a New York team as his next home.)

Murray would provide a replacement guard next to Darius Garland, and the Knicks would send the kind of assets Atlanta would want if they are indeed selling.

In other Atlanta news, the Bulls, Rockets and Knicks have expressed interest in AJ Griffin, who has fallen out of the rotation under Quin Snyder this season. The Pelicans have some interest in Clint Capela, if they decide to move off Jonas Valanciunas, and Toronto has interest in De'Andre Hunter.

NBA Trade Deadline Odds and Ends

  • The Wizards appreciate Tyus Jones' play and approach despite the team's miserable performance with him on-floor (-13.2 in net rating) and haven't shown a real interest in engaging in talks for him. The 76ers are one team that would love to add Jones, but are only offering well below the asking price, which includes a first-round pick, at this point.
  • As the Knicks continue to look for a fill-in for Mitchell Robinson during his maybe-season-long-maybe-not injury absence, Daniel Gafford has emerged as a potential target.
  • The Rockets are known to be looking for backup center depth behind Alperen Sengun to pair with defensive star Tari Eason.
  • The P.J. Tucker situation with the Clippers, where the veteran is out of the rotation, is sticky. He would prefer a new home where he can contribute, but the only teams interested are direct competitors for the NBA title. The Clippers don't want to play him, but they don't want to play against him in a big game environment, either. The Nuggets, 76ers and Suns are among the interested teams, but likely only if he's bought out.
  • The Kings are among the teams LaVine's camp would embrace a trade to, but so far, the Kings haven't shown interest in a move for the former All-Star.
  • The Bulls continue to project that they are no rebuilding, that there's no firesale and that Alex Caruso will not be made available, much to the chagrin of multiple executives around the league.
  • While it's unclear at this point if the Blazers want to retain him, Jerami Grant is expected to receive more interest from teams looking for forward help over the next month. Grant becomes trade eligible on January 15th after signing his five-year, $160-million contract this summer.

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May 28, 2024 UTC