The 2023-24 NBA trade deadline is just hours away, and teams around the league are working the phone lines. Many, like the Atlanta Hawks, are trying desperately to improve their roster before a second-half playoff run.
Linked to multiple teams throughout the season via various trade proposals, the Hawks seem all but hellbent on trading starting guard Dejounte Murray.
Murray was an All-Star before arriving in Atlanta. Furthermore, his averages have held steady since the 2021-22 season. Nonetheless, his fit next to the franchise cornerstone has been average at best.
Both players are better with the ball in their hands and neither are reliable on-ball defenders. The overlap in their strengths undermines what could have been a promising pairing. As a result, it’s no surprise that the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, and New Orleans Pelicans are all rumored to have inquired about Murray.
Spencer Dinwiddie To The Hawks?
Among the teams rumored to have interest in Dejounte Murray, the Brooklyn Nets stand out due to the prominence and tragedy of their franchise. An organization consistently capable of acquiring marquee players, their interest in Murray isn’t surprising.
To that point, talks between the Nets, Atlanta Hawks, and Los Angeles Lakers regarding a 3-team trade that would send Murray to L.A. and D’Angelo Russell aren’t said to be substantive. Yet, this could be because Brooklyn wants Murray for themselves.
After all, just look at their point guard stable.
Dinwiddie’s effort and efficiency have been lackluster. Should-be starter Ben Simmons has been plagued by injury since his arrival. 26-year-old Dennis Smith Jr. hasn’t played more than 55 games in a season since his rookie year.
Murray would be a breath of fresh air for the Nets and then some. The same may not be said for Russell, whom Brooklyn traded in 2019 in a package for Kevin Durant. To that point, Russell’s subpar playoff performance just prior to his departure is notable.
Yet, this begs the question of what the Hawks would get out of swapping Murray for Dinwiddie. Though his expiring contract is attractive, the 30-year-old Dinwiddie isn’t as capable as Murray on either end of the floor.
Even looking at his numbers this season leaves a lot to be desired, as Dinwiddie is averaging 12.6 points, 6.0 assists, and 0.8 steals per game on 39.1-32.0-78.1 shooting splits. For comparison, Murray is averaging 21.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game on 46.6-37.0-83.4 shooting splits.
An Eye Towards The Future?
Prior intel from HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto stated that the Atlanta Hawks don’t want to take back future salary in a trade. While Scotto pointed to their desire to avoid the luxury tax, it’s also possible that Atlanta is looking to clear cap space for the 2024 free agency period.
In that event, Hawks center Clint Capela may find himself on the move. Nets center Nic Claxton is set to reach free agency this offseason and may price himself out of Brooklyn. Furthermore, Capela will be on the final year of his contract next season, which could help the Nets make future moves.
O’Neale is a 3-and-D wing who played under Hawks head coach Quin Snyder when they were with the Utah Jazz. A career 38.1 percent shooter from deep, O’Neale would be a reliable off-ball weapon.
Walker is capable of making plays off-the-dribble and in spot-up situations. Though O’Neale is a more consistent on-ball defender, Walker is solid in this area as well.
Both players would be candidates to re-sign in Atlanta should the Hawks want to bring them back.
Aligning The Stars
However, the Hawks are currently projected to be $19.7 million over the cap next summer. Even if they managed the shed the salary of both Dejounte Murray and Clint Capela, they would likely need to complete a sign-and-trade utilizing Bogdan Bogdanovic or De’Andre Hunter’s contract to acquire one of the NBA’s premier talents.
It would be worth it though. Whether it’s for an aging superstar like LeBron or a young defensive star like Anunoby.