Analyst weighs in on Atlanta Hawks’ ‘biggest win’ of offseason

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks don’t have to do anything else, they already have a roster that can boast of being at least two-deep at every position.

They are in this position despite moving off their longest-tenured player John Collins, their starting power forward since 2018. But that move, despite dropping them below the luxury tax and generating a $25.3 million trade exception, also created a void in the starting lineup.

Conversely, the Hawks ensured that their last blockbuster deal isn’t shortlived.

“One of the best free agents of the 2024 class is already off the board, with [Dejounte] Murray agreeing to a four-year, $114 million extension with the Hawks that includes $6 million in incentives,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on July 24. “This is a terrific contract for the cash-conscious Hawks, especially since Murray looked like he was headed for a max contract.”

Murray, 26, is one year removed from his first All-Star appearance and leading the NBA in steals per game.

His first season in Atlanta did not yield the results in the wins column like many hoped. But the Hawks were 35-32 with both Murray and Trae Young in the lineup, an improvement in win percentage over the team’s 41-41 record overall.

They also put up historic numbers together.

“It’s a good deal for Murray as well, who locks in a ton of guaranteed money, gets a player option in Year 4 and a 15 percent trade kicker,” Swartz continued.

Murray could have made roughly $17 million more in the first season alone had he made it to unrestricted free agency. But, to Swartz’s point, he may have been looking more for security after already having an entire season wiped out by a torn ACL in 2018-19 while he was still a member of the San Antonio Spurs.

He can also be an unrestricted free agent following the 2026-27 season when he will be heading into his age-31 season, in time for the tail end of his prime. But the trade kicker could be more significant than even Swartz has let on.

Insider suggests Dejounte Murray could still be traded

“We’ll see if he’s on the team in March,” said ESPN’s Tim Bontemps on ‘Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective’ on July 24. “He could be traded…starting sometime in January, and it will be very interesting to see if he’s still on the team after the deadline. Because that is…one of the better contracts in the league when you look at his production his age his ability.”

Murray’s contract ranks 58th in average annual value overall and 32nd among all guards, per Spotrac. That is a veritable bargain considering what the Hawks were able to do amid a tumultuous season.

And all sides are high on what the future has in store.

“It starts with me and him,” Murray told ESPN reporter Ros Gold-Onwude while in Las Vegas taking in Summer League action. “And it starts [with] chemistry, off the floor, making sure we’re available, making sure our teammates see who we are. The work ethic, the work we’re putting in, and just wanting one another to keep getting better but also lead by example.”

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Murray, who was in attendance for Young’s wedding this past weekend, surely has shown no signs of looking for a new team and the Hawks’ actions should speak volumes for their intentions as well.