Exclusive Behind the Scenes Details of the Dejounte Murray Trade

The San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks completed the much-anticipated Dejounte Murray trade this afternoon. In return for Murray, the Spurs received Danilo Gallinari, three first round draft picks and a first round pick swap. 

One of the first rounders is a protected 2023 pick from the Charlotte Hornets. The two other first rounders (2025 and 2027) are from the Hawks and are completely unprotected, according to a league insider. In 2026, San Antonio has the option of swapping picks with Atlanta. It’s believed that the pick swap is also unprotected. 

1) The details of this trade align with the previously published intel that I’ve heard from sources close to the situation. While national media reports indicated that the Spurs wanted three first round draft picks for Murray, I reported that the Spurs wanted more:

“San Antonio’s asking price for Murray is four first round draft picks with little to no protections. Alternatively, the Spurs want three minimally protected first rounders and two unprotected first round pick swaps.”

Ultimately, the Spurs basically got the deal they wanted for Murray. In the last 48 hours, San Antonio stood firm on the demands described above but Atlanta didn’t want to include two swaps in addition to the three first rounders. This afternoon, the two teams came to an agreement once the Hawks totally removed the protections on their first round picks involved in the trade. 

All in all, the Spurs didn’t quite get the sheer number of picks they originally requested but the picks they did receive were even less protected than they initially requested.

2) When Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer broke this story, he stated that the swap revolved around Murray and John Collins. However, as I wrote, the Spurs were never interested in acquiring Collins and his $125 million contract. In fact, San Antonio saw Collins as a liability in trade talks with the Hawks.

Prior to the draft, Collins was included in what would have been a three-team trade. But, as a team insider has told me all along, Collins was never someone the Spurs wanted to acquire in a Murray trade.

3) What caused the Hawks to relinquish the unprotected picks? A reliable source tells me that other teams were making serious pushes for Murray. In addition to the previously named Minnesota Timberwolves, the Spurs got offers from other teams including the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks.

The Spurs had at least one other offer on the table for Murray that included three first round picks and what was described to me as a “desirable” young player. However, none of the first rounders in that package were unprotected.

4) Early this morning, it sounded like the deal may have hit a roadblock. According to a source, Gallinari’s representatives were hesitant about moving back the deadline in his contract that called for the Hawks to either release him today or completely guarantee his contract. Since the two sides remained apart in negotiations and the Spurs didn’t see a way forward with Collins involved in the deal, hopes for the trade began to fade.

However, once the Hawks removed the protections on their outgoing picks, the trade was completed in short order and Gallinari’s impending deadline became a non-factor. 

5) I’m told that the Spurs were given the option of receiving Onyeka Okongwu in place of one of the unprotected first round picks. San Antonio deliberated but decided to decline.

6) Since the completion of the trade, the most common reaction from scouts I’ve texted with or spoken to around the league is shock. Scouts are surprised that the Spurs traded away a homegrown All-Star that still had two seasons on his contract. But scouts are equally as surprised that the Hawks, a team that remains a long-shot to be in championship contention even after trading for Murray, were willing to give up so much future draft capital.

In recent days, almost everyone I talked to believed the max that the Spurs could realistically get from the Hawks was three first round picks. As it turned out, San Antonio wasn’t bluffing about wanting at least four picks and demanding unprotected picks.