The Atlanta Hawks was desperate for another star.
After that unexpected joy in the 2021 knockout stages, their poor performance last season at the much-improved Eastern Conference was a big deal for all participants. Pressure from ownership is growing – again – especially with Trae YoungThe super max extension is coming into effect for the 2022-23 campaign.
High stakes mean it’s time to make another move; to raise the general ceiling for this group showed a lot of promise two weeks ago.
Lose the first five games first Miami make it clear how bad the Hawks are need an extra perimeter player beside Young. The organization believes this was a pre-series demand, sources say The Athletic, and that was only highlighted by the Heat’s ability to hunt down Atlanta’s all-NBA keeper and force him to drop the ball to an unprecedented degree. Atlanta didn’t have the points or threats in play to make up for Young’s complete exclusion from the game by Miami’s physicality and length.
Entering the 2021-22 All-Star period Dejounte Murraythe San Antonio Spurs the guard is heading to Atlanta to trade Danilo Gallinarifirst round selection defended in the top 16 in 2023 CharlotteThe 2025 and 2027 first round picks are not protected, and the 2026 picks swaps are also unprotected, source told The Athletic. It’s a win-win if ever, a clear sign the Hawks are committed to maximizing their Youth while bolstering a ranked defence. 26th for permission points per 100 possessions last season. But it’s also a hefty price to pay, the kind of make-or-break move, mortgage – your future will be watched and scrutinized for years to come.
The Hawks hope this is good enough that Murray will want to continue after his current contract expires in the summer of 2024 (he owes $16.5 million and $17.7 million over the next two seasons). ). Murray is eligible to sign a three-year extension this season worth up to $74.7 million after the incentives, but it’s unlikely he’s agreeing now after the All-Star season he just had with Spurs. In short, the Hawks simply have to find a way to compete again in an Eastern Conference with Boston, Milwaukee, PhiladelphiaMiami and Brooklyn more formidable than ever.
Just a week agoLandry Fields, Atlanta’s soon-to-be general manager, said the front office “is mandated to be better, and we want to be better.” Hawks are better and have the potential to improve even more in the coming days.
With all the signs continuing to point to one John Collins With the Hawks’ near-future trade, it’s hard to accept Atlanta’s potential for next season and beyond without knowing their return to that widely anticipated deal. Sources say that initially, commercial conversations for the Murray deal involved Collins, before the Spurs pivoted.
It is also possible that Hawks discover the transaction Kevin Huerter or Bogdan Bogdanovic, who could be taken on the bench role due to the addition of Murray. Huerter signed a four-year, $65 million contract last season, while Bogdanovic owes $18 million this season and is recovering from knee surgery that season.
Murray is the only player to average at least 21 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds last season, with only Luka Dončić and James Harden come close. Murray is not a threat from the outer ring, scoring only 33.3% from 3 in his career and just 32.7% last season. He is not Klay Thompson to Young’s quoted basketball doppelgänger comic, Steph curry. Not even close.
While Murray is one of the better scoring guards in the inside-belt tournament, making 44% of his mid-range jumps and 64% of his attempts at the belt, he has a using 26.8 far ahead of Huerter (16.9), the Hawks’ caught the incumbent off guard. Murray will need the ball, and Young may need to master the art of the ball like Curry. This will be an adjustment for Young and Murray, as two All-Stars used to play 100 percent of their minutes at point guard last season, each time Wipe the glass.
However, ever since Young joined the league, the Hawks have always believed that they can bring out the best version of Young if he accepts the ball-free move. That skill wasn’t completely new to Young, who practiced it a lot during his AAU days with Denver Nuggets in front of Michael Porter Jr. In his limited ballless efforts at NBA level, Young has been excellent. Last season, he scored 1.3 points per possession, in the 97th percentile, according to Synergy Sports. Young made 48.1% of 77 three-pointers and catches last season.
Now that Young has a running buddy in Murray who can run the show with or without him on the floor, the Hawks can unlock their superstar’s full offensive arsenal. All it took was Gallinari’s partially guaranteed contract, a pile of draft assets, and a few days of intense negotiations.
When the Hawks and Spurs talked about the deal last weekend and into the weekend, there was a sense of confusion and distrust from some stakeholders on Atlanta’s part. Are Spurs really ready to part ways with a 25-year-old who is widely regarded as one of the league’s best underdogs? Would they really welcome a full-blown reconstruction in Gregg Popovich’s twilight years? The Hawks knew the cost would be high to land Murray, but their chances of solving so many problems by pairing him with Young in their back lane were too good to pass up.
Then there was amazing silence. Sources said the Spurs had been quiet for a long time earlier this week, with Hawks officials internally wondering if San Antonio could pull out of a viable deal, or perhaps, be gaining momentum in trade negotiations elsewhere. The timing is most important for the Hawks, as Gallinari’s $21.45 million contract for this season was fully secured on Wednesday night.
However, while The AthleticJon Krawczynski’s reports that there have been Murray-focused talks between the Spurs and Minnesota last week, the main office of the Timberwolves clearly uncomfortable doing it all landed him. The Knicks was reported as possibly Murray’s landing spot, but a source familiar with their discussions said they have not spoken to San Antonio about him. Atlanta, meanwhile, is clearly determined to find another elite wing talent.
While talks over Murray are progressing, sources say the Hawks are monitoring Brooklyn’s situation closely and – like many other teams around the league – preparing seriously for the Nets’ star potential . Kevin Durant may request a transaction. While Kyrie IrvingThe decision to opt in for the final year of his contract quickly ended Durant’s conversation, the Hawks’ interest spoke volumes about the scope and urgency of their search. .
In the end, Murray was their man.
(Dejounte Murray top photo: Brett Davis / USA Today)