“Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray has been suspended for one game without pay for making inappropriate contact with and verbally abusing a game official,” read a statement released by the NBA Communications team on behalf of the NBA Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars.”
The suspension stems from Murray seeking out and proceeding to engage in the aforementioned activities with referee Gemata Petraitias after the Hawks’ 129-121 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 4, a game that was questioned for its officiating on social media.
Per the NBA, Murray will indeed serve the suspension on April 25 in a must-win scenario with the Hawks down 3-1 and on the road in Boston.
Murray has been the Hawks’ most consistent player this postseason with the 26-year-old guard averaging 20.5 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.3 rebounds in the series on .464/.344/.832 shooting splits. He has also been tasked with stopping the Celtics’ dribble penetrations which, for all of his defensive prowess, is not really Murray’s strong suit.
Leadership had been a big plus of adding Murray, though.
Given the gravity of the situation and the position he has put himself in, this will almost surely be a moment that Murray wants back. He just has to help will his teammates to a victory, forcing another game to atone for it on the court this season.
Hawks head coach Quin Snyder spoke with Murray before and after the news broke.
“I saw the clip, same thing everyone else has seen,” Snyder said via Hawks on Bally on April 24. “I don’t have the context or a frame of reference relative to those kinds of decisions. And, again, that’s why the league’s in the position they’re in to make those evaluations.
“Beating Boston in [TD Garden Arena] in the situation we’re in right now, I think we all know, is a challenge in and of itself. It’s just something I think the entire group has to absorb….Dejounte, not just in this series, but over the course of the year has been a real important part of what our team does…We’ve got to have to understand that contributions are going to have to come from a number of different players across the board. I don’t think you can plug and play in a situation like this. So everybody’s got to do their part.”
The Hawks sent three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2026 swap, 2027) and another lottery-protected pick from the Charlotte Hornets to the San Antonio Spurs for Murray this past offseason. He was coming off of his first All-Star appearance in 2022 and will head into the final year of his contract next season unlikely to sign an extension due to league rules.
Atlanta Hawks facing an uphill battle without Dejounte Murray
The Hawks posted a minus-1.4 net rating with Murray on the floor (minus-2.9 in the postseason) and are plus-3.4 (minus-0.1) with him off, per Cleaning The Glass. However, they also went 3-5 without Murray this season.
On top of that, their only win over the Celtics this season came in Game 3, and their 3-1 hole in the series comes with some extremely daunting odds.
Only 13 of the 271 teams to fall behind 3-1 (4.8%) have won that series, per Land of Basketball.