This offseason is shaping up to have been more about settling in for the Atlanta Hawks than setting themselves up for the next big move. And, with their return to training camp on October 3, it seems to have worked.
“I AIN’T GONE LIE HAWKS FANS,” Dejounte Murray posted on X after Day 1. “THE ENERGY FEELING REAL REAL DIFFERENT.”
Murray – who signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension this offseason – has been open and honest about the challenges last season posed with him having to revert back to being off the ball most of the time. And the Hawks made changes to the front office that brought him and fired the head coach they opened the season with.
The former San Antonio Spurs star has embraced all of it, though.
“Obviously coming to Atlanta it was another challenge,” Murray said via the Hawks’ YouTube channel on April 28. “But that’s the kind of person I am. I want all challenges. I don’t want nothing easy. I feel like adversities will really build you, whether it’s on or off the floor.”
This offseason, Murray and Young were able to get some work in together in Atlanta a little earlier than usual.
Murray has long declared that this will be his best season as a pro. This is a player who went from the No. 29 overall pick in 2016 to his first All-Star appearance in 2022 while leading the league in steals per game. And, in his first year with the Hawks, he shot 34.4% from beyond the arc on a career-high 5.2 attempts per game.
“I Promise This The Best Season of Em All!!! Locked In FASHO,” Murray said in an Instagram story in July,
His backcourt partner, Trae Young, is equally high on the duo’s potential.
“I think we can be we can be special,” Young said on the ”From The Point by Trae Young” podcast on August 4. “For me, I don’t like necessarily talking about it. I like going out and doing it. So like it’s different for me talking about it. But I know we can be special.”
Dejounte Murray on playing with Trae Young: ‘It starts with us’
“It starts with us. But we also determine how this team could be,” Murray said on media day. “If we’re unselfish, the whole team is going to be unselfish. If we’re selfish, it’s gonna be a selfish team. “So if we want to win and go a long way and make this thing fun – because you look around the room from the young guys to the older guys, we got a great roster.”
The roster of “high-character guys” will still take their cues from the star duo.
“With me and Trae, it starts with us as far as if we’re going to be unselfish, then you’re gonna see a great team, an unselfish team,” Murray said. “And then everybody’s gonna have fun.”
The Hawks went 41-41 last season and were barely even with Quin Snyder at the helm, going 10-11 to end the regular season. But, with opponents noting the difference in the team under Snyder, the additional time to jell this offseason could pay big dividends.