Dejounte Murray sends message to Hawks fans after landing max contract

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

It didn’t take long for Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray to speak out after agreeing to terms on a new four-year, $120 million contract extension on July 6 that should keep him in a Hawks uniform through the 2027-28 campaign. Atlanta gave up a substantial trade package to acquire the one-time All-Star and 2021-22 steals champ.

“ATLANTA #DM5 Been Locked In From The Moment Y’all Accepted Me,” Murray tweeted not long after word of his new deal broke. “LOYALTY OVER EVERYTHING. Let’s Gooooooooooooooo!!!!!! #TrueToATLANTA.”

It’s an extension (and apparent confirmation) of his message from the day before when it seemed he was alluding to something.

“I Don’t Play About LOYALTY,” Murray said in that tweet from July 5.

Murray, 26, averaged 20.5 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.3 rebounds this past season while shooting 46.4% from the floor and 34.4% from deep on a career-high 5.2 attempts per game. He also averaged 1.5 steals and has averaged at least 1.2 steals in five of his six healthy seasons in the NBA – he tore his ACL and missed the entire 2018-19 campaign.

Heading into the final year of a four-year, $64 million contract, many believed Murray would opt for unrestricted free agency over an extension that is projected to be worth $17 million less in Year 1 than if he did opt out — to be clear: this is not the most money Murray could have gotten.

He signed the deal before his All-Star bid in 2021-22 and before there were whispers of the parameters of the new CBA that may have enabled this extension to get done.

Atlanta can offer a first-year salary of $24.8 million under the new CBA.

Under the old CBA, the most they could have offered in the first year was $21.2 million. And while that may not seem like a sizeable enough bump, it was enough to convince Murray to re-up at what is invariably a bargain for the Hawks, especially considering the percentage of the cap he will take up even in Year 4 of his new deal when he will earn $30.7 million.

Even then he will account for less than 20% of the Hawks’ salary cap allocation. And his leadership has shown from his insight into this past season to his approach to dealing with the incoming rookie class.

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The Hawks went 38-36 with Murray in the lineup this past season with a starting lineup that ranked in the 86th percentile last season, per Cleaning The Glass.

Murray’s contract status was a big part of the discussion when this trade was being assessed by onlookers. With that now resolved, the only thing left for Murray and the Hawks is to translate it into victories, and not just in the regular season.

Of course, that was with John Collins who they traded to the Utah Jazz.

Youngsters could be next up for Atlanta Hawks

Murray is the second player to sign an extension under this front office led by general manager Landry Fields. They also signed veteran swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic to a four-year, $68 million contract extension in March. But they might not be the last of the current Hawks to see new money before all is said and done ahead of next offseason.

Both former No. 6 overall pick (2020) Onyeka Okongwu and 2023 trade deadline acquisition Saddiq Bey are extension eligible this offseason. There has not been so much as a whisper of talks coming but that was the case with Murray too, and to an even more extreme degree.

Next. Hawks land pair of former 1st-round picks from Rockets. dark

Bey and Okongwu will only be heading into restricted free agency which means the Hawks can match any offers they receive next offseason.