Analyst reveals ‘whispers’ around Atlanta Hawks’ Dejounte Murray

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Players like Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray can try their best to maintain a fairly low profile and still find themselves popping up in the dark corners of the rumor mill.

“Some whispers abound that Dejounte Murray could be had in the right deal,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report on June 9. “Murray is due $18.2 million this season but may not be open to an extension limited to a $25.4 million starting salary….They may not be able to afford Murray at his current price, let alone on a new deal in his likely asking range above $30 million.”

Atlanta traded three first-round picks – two of their own and one from the New York Knicks – as well as a pick swap and veteran forward Danilo Gallinari to the San Antonio Spurs last offseason in a deal that had league types riled up.

Their season admittedly did not go as planned but he and Trae Young put up historic numbers.

Murray, 26, averaged 20.5 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.3 rebounds while notching at least 1.5 assists for the fourth consecutive season and shooting 34.4% on a career-high 5.2 attempts.

He was also always likely to hit unrestricted free agency when his four-year, $64 million contract expired after the 2024 season and is due a substantial raise over the $17.7 million salary he will earn next season.

For all of the trade rumors surrounding Young, he is at least under contract through the 2027 season on a five-year, $215 million max contract.

And, as Pincus notes, the potential trade chatter could be financially motivated.

New CBA could impact Atlanta Hawks’ roster

“The Hawks are facing a more immediate problem under the new CBA, with a payroll projected to be $172 million and $16.4 million in luxury taxes,” Pincus writes.

Atlanta has several extensions starting this season with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and De’Andre Hunter all getting new money in the last couple of seasons. Hunter’s deal will see his salary spike from $9.8 million this past season to more than $20 million in 2023-24 while Capela will see a bump of roughly $2 million and Bogdanovic will net $700,000.

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Of the three, Bogdanovic, 30, has been mentioned in previous trade rumblings the most with the Phoenix Suns among the reported potential suitors. The issue is he cannot be traded until around training camp in September since he signed his extension in March.

Hawks forward John Collins, 25, has been a constant in trade talks.

But a poor season won’t make the more than $78 million left on his contract look any better to possible trade partners and Capela will turn 30 years old next summer.

Hunter has been one of the Hawks said to be off-limits in previous rumors even before this past season. He is the team’s best perimeter defender – particularly in a league built on wing play – and he has flashed a nice offensive ceiling. But he is also the highest draft pick on the team, selected No. 4 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The new CBA is extremely prohibitive to teams that spend and the Hawks have never paid the luxury tax in owner Tony Ressler’s tenure, ample reason to look to shed some salary wherever possible.

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However, the Hawks almost certainly did not hire Quin Snyder – nor did he choose them – to toil away in anonymity, and winning means spending in the NBA.