Last night, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fisher reported that the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks were discussing a trade that would involve Dejounte Murray going to the Hawks. In return, he said the Spurs would get forward John Collins as part of a lucrative package.
Understandably, that trade rumor sent shockwaves around South Texas. With Murray coming off of an All-Star campaign and Collins seemingly taking a step backwards last season, that swap doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at first blush. I investigated the rumor in an attempt to separate fact from fiction. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.
Did the Spurs actually talk to the Hawks about a Dejounte Murray trade?
Yes, it sounds like those talks did occur. While sources connected to the Spurs won’t confirm or deny the rumor, multiple league sources say the report is true. In fact, third and fourth teams were actively involved at one point in time yesterday afternoon.
“There was a two hour window where [sic] the trade looked like it was nearing completion. Agents were even in on the call,” reads a text I got from a source last night.
Right now, I’m told that the talks have simmered. However, the Hawks are telling teams that Collins will be traded today so it’s possible that the Murray to the Hawks rumors will heat back up as the NBA draft nears.
What would the Spurs have received from the Hawks in the proposed trade?
First of all, I’m told that Collins wasn’t headed to the Spurs in the deal that was discussed yesterday. Collins was being sent to a third team. That team, believed to also be in the Western Conference, was set to send further draft compensation to the Spurs.
In total, San Antonio was in line to get at least four first round picks in return for Murray.
Why did trade talks stall?
It sounds like it came down to the pick protection. The Spurs wanted minimal protections on the first round picks, while the Hawks and the other team(s) involved wanted to include pick swaps and lottery protections.
Could Dejounte Murray still be traded to the Hawks today?
It’s possible — but sources have gotten more pessimistic in recent hours. The Spurs are holding firm on requiring a monumental haul in order to trade Murray. A source says San Antonio wants a “Godfather offer” and is in no rush to trade Murray.
Why would the Spurs trade Dejounte Murray after his breakout season?
I think a Murray trade would be similar to a Derrick White trade. If the Spurs are blown away by an offer, they’ll pull the trigger. It’s a taken time but San Antonio now fully understands that they are in the middle of a rebuilding process. If they can sell high on an asset, they’ll do it — even if it’s a beloved asset like Murray.
As awesome as Murray was last season, it’s still clear that he’s not a franchise player who can carry his team to postseason success. A franchise player would be untouchable. A non-franchise player should always be available at the right price.
Furthermore, I can’t emphasize enough how much the Spurs believe in Joshua Primo’s potential. Multiple individuals employed by the Spurs say the franchise views Primo’s ultimate position to be point guard and that he’s exhibiting extreme work ethic and has made notable strides already this offseason. If the Spurs have a franchise player already on the roster, these Spurs insiders believe it’ll end up being Primo.
Why do the Hawks want Dejounte Murray?
The Hawks made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021. Last season was a major disappointment for them. After barely making it to the playoffs, they were handily bounced by the Miami Heat in the first round. After they were eliminated, Atlanta’s front office stated that they’d be active this summer.
“We probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” said Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk. “The way the season played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”
Adding Murray would be a perfect fit next to superstar Trae Young. Murray would add defensive versatility to their backcourt and an additional playmaker on offense to lighten the load for Young.
By the end of the day, what are the odds that the Spurs make a trade?
I think there’s a good chance that the Spurs make some sort of trade today. Even before the Murray trade rumors bubbled to the surface, there was already a lot of talk behind the scenes about the Spurs looking at trades in the draft. From moving up to the fourth pick to trading away one of their first round selections, it’s all on the table.