A couple days prior to the 2022 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks were engaged in serious trade discussions that would have sent Dejounte Murray to the Hawks and a handful of first round draft picks to the Spurs. While those talks cooled during the draft, I’ve been told by multiple sources that the trade has been revived and that the Hawks are even more motivated to complete the deal than they were last week.
1) When Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer initially revealed that the Spurs and Hawks were talking about this blockbuster trade, it was insinuated that John Collins would headline San Antonio’s return. However, at the time, I reported that Collins wasn’t headed to the Spurs in the proposed deal.
According to a reliable source, Collins is still not expected to be sent to San Antonio. In fact, in the latest trade talks that took place on Monday, Collins wasn’t in the deal at all.
Initially, Collins was going to be sent to a third team. However, the source says the Hawks no longer have a third team willing to trade worthwhile draft capital for Collins.
2) There’s talk that the Spurs are looking to trade Murray for three first round draft picks. I’m told that is incorrect.
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.
3) Interestingly, an insider close to the situation says that the Spurs have multiple teams making a strong push for Murray besides the Hawks. One Eastern Conference team, he says, is offering three first round draft picks and a desirable young player in a proposed swap. He also stated that the Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed serious interest in Murray.
4) Multiple sources have told me the only player on the Hawks the Spurs would value as a possible replacement for a first round pick is Onyeka Okongwu. The 21-year-old big man averaged 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 20.7 minutes per game last season.
On the other hand, the Spurs reportedly view Collins’ $125 million contract as a liability. To match salaries, San Antonio would rather take on Danilo Gallinari and his partially guaranteed contract.
5) One scout believes that the Spurs may be interested in AJ Griffin and Tyrese Martin, the two players the Hawks selected in the draft. Griffin was picked 16th in the first round and Martin was picked 51st overall.
Personally, though, I’m not so sure. On our Spurs Big Board, which ended up being extremely accurate, Griffin was No. 21 — and that was actually lower than Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley, the three players San Antonio selected in the first round. Martin was No. 58 on the Big Board, so it’s unlikely that he’d be valued as anything more than a throw-in.
6) When might a deal be completed? Gallinari’s contract becomes completely guaranteed on June 29th if he’s not released, so that may motivate the Hawks to put their best offer on the table in the next 24 hours.
From San Antonio’s perspective, there doesn’t appear to be much of a rush. Murray is under contract for two more seasons and is coming off of an All-Star campaign. If this trade doesn’t happen, there will undoubtedly be other opportunities.
7) Why are the Spurs even talking about trading Murray? It’s mostly a matter of the front office doing their due diligence. Murray is an outstanding player but he’s not an untouchable cornerstone. If San Antonio is blown away by a trade offer, they have to at least consider pulling the trigger on such a franchise-altering deal.
There’s talk that the Spurs are hesitant to give Murray a $200-plus million contract in two years. While that may be part of the calculations the front office is doing when evaluating these potential trades, it’s not the main motivation.
8) I’ve been told that Murray hasn’t asked for a trade. He is said to be open to joining the Hawks (he’s been in contact with Trae Young in recent days) but he’s not applying any pressure to complete the deal.
Has Gregg Popovich okayed trading Murray? No source I talked to has an answer to that question.