Grade the trade: Hawks send Dejounte Murray to Pelicans for $29 million trio & More

Which team won the trade that sent Dejounte Murray from the Atlanta Hawks to the New Orleans Pelicans?
Atlanta Hawks, Dejounte Murray, New Orleans Pelicans
Atlanta Hawks, Dejounte Murray, New Orleans Pelicans / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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When the dust settled, the Atlanta Hawks received three players and two picks from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Dejounte Murray. Two of those players are recent draft picks, including one selected in the top-10 of his class. 

They also received two first-round picks. One is unprotected from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2025. 

The other will be the lesser (worse) selection of the Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks in 2027.

There are also significant financial implications on the line. Perhaps most importantly, the rest of the roster’s future is under the microscope after the deal, including Trae Young. He is entering Year 3 of a five-year, $215.1 million contract.

The financial ramifications of this deal cannot be overstated.

“Because the Murray extension that he signed last offseason begins on July 1, this trade has to happen now,” ESPN’s Bobby Marks posted on X on June 28. “Murray has the largest trade bonus in the NBA- $12M.

“The bonus would be spread out over 4 seasons, including 2023-24. It can also be negotiated down.”

Per Marks, Atlanta is responsible for paying that $12 million bonus. Murray signed a four-year, $114 million contract last June. His cap hit for 2024-25 jumps from $25.2 million to $28.2 million as a result.

The Hawks gave four first-round picks (unprotected firsts in 2025 and 2027, swap rights in 2026, and a lottery-protected pick from the Charlotte Hornets with veteran Danilo Gallinari to the San Antonio Spurs for Murray

Hawks get back trio of players and draft picks for Dejounte Murray

The Hawks’ new trio of players – Larry Nance, Dyson Daniels, and E.J. Liddell – will count $19.3 million against the cap this coming season, giving the Hawks just under $6 million in savings as they looked to avoid the luxury tax. 

Their total contract value ($29.7 million) is $1.5 million less than Murray’s new 2024-25 hit. The Hawks sit $22 million below the first luxury tax apron and nearly $33 million below the second.

Nance, 31, averaged 5.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 steals last season. 

He is entering the final year of a $21.6 million contract with an $11.2 million cap hit in 2024-25. The 6-foot-8 veteran plays hustles on both ends of the floor and can play both the 4 and 5 and has even spent time at 3 while with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Daniels – the No. 8 overall pick in 2022 – averaged 5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals last season in 22 minutes per game. 

Daniels is a great point-of-attack defender but a shaky shooter (31.2% career 3P).

He is going into Year 3 of a four-year, $25 million contract with a $6 million cap hit in 2024-25 and a $7.7 million club option for the 2025-26 campaign.

Liddell was a second-round pick in the 2022 draft but tore his ACL in summer league. The 6-foot-7 combo forward appeared in eight games as a rookie last season. He did make three appearances with the Pelicans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron.

Liddell will count $2.1 million in Year 2 of a three-year, $6.2 million pact with a $2.3 million team option for the 2025-26 season.

The 2025 first-rounder from the Lakers is the more intriguing selection of the two picks, though both selections figure to land outside of the lottery.

Grade – B+: The Hawks added better defensive personnel and gave themselves financial flexibility, but uncertainty around the rest of the roster beyond Risacher and Johnson remains.