Don’t look now (okay, you can look) but the Atlanta Hawks (23-22) are on a four-game winning streak and, more importantly, have climbed to the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference. However, their margin for error remains slim with just a half-game lead over the ninth-seeded Indiana Pacers and the outside noise continues to signal troubled waters.
One of the latest pieces was spurred by Dejounte Murray’s recollection of his time spent with the San Antonio Spurs.
Murray took his moment to chide former San Antonio Spurs teammate Tony Parker during an interview saying that Parker failed to properly bring him along, instead leaving the team altogether. This sparked a wide range of responses with some questioning his motives.
However, not everyone feels this way.
Spurs’ Tre Jones defends former teammate, Hawks star Dejounte Murray
“Dejounte is a real good guy,” San Antonio Spurs guard Tre Jones said per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “I feel like a lot of the things that happened when he separated from here and got traded, a lot of things happened that made him out to be a bad guy a little bit. I don’t think it’s anything like that.”
Murray has said his exit from San Antonio was amicable complete with a sit-down with Spurs head coach and his former mentor Gregg Popovich.
He has also expressed a sense of relief at being in Atlanta now too, though.
His tenure has been littered with moments of feistiness – his ongoing beef with Orlando Magic rookie Paolo Banchero whom he says “crossed the line” is just one example.
But he has also largely been a team-first guy trying to imbue positivity amid the team’s struggles.
Judging from Jones’ comments, his time in San Antonio also featured plenty of the latter for a rebuilding Spurs team.
“Everyone in that locker room respected him,” said Jones who replaced Murray as Murray did Parker. “He continues to reach out to all of us a lot. We all have a good relationship with him still. I don’t think there’s any bad blood there, but sometimes people spin it out to be something different.”
Murray appeared on the January 19 episode of the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast hosted by former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson the latter of whom spent three seasons with the Spurs under Popovich even winning a ring in 2003.
Parker retired after the 2019 season having averaged 9.7 points in 56 games for the Hornets.
I know he didn’t like it cuz if he liked it, he would have mentored me the way he should have,” Murray said. “He wouldn’t have went to Charlotte. He would have stayed right there.”
Jackson, Parker’s teammate during all three of the former’s seasons in San Antonio did not take Murray’s account lightly saying that while the Spurs great is a “Hall-of-Fame player”, he is also “selfish” and that cost the Spurs even more titles. That last part may be up for debate but at least Murray has now been twice vindicated.
Murray’s message has been about team success over individual goals since his arrival.
He has acknowledged his own struggles in trying to fit in while being a key factor in helping to get embattled big man John Collins going.
This seems to simply be a player telling his side of the story which Parker is also free to do if he so chooses. It does not appear to be a player trying to stir the pot. Instead, it seems Murray has gone out of his way to be the opposite kind of teammate.