Things may be taking a turn in the wrong direction for the Atlanta Hawks, who are riding a four-game losing streak.
All-Star guard Dejounte Murray appears to have scrubbed his social media of all Hawks-related content. Murray had previously deactivated his X (formerly Twitter) account but had returned for a short bit.
This latest scrubbing, of his Instagram account, comes amid consistent trade rumors.
The latest round of speculation comes in the wake of the New York Knicks’ trade with the Toronto Raptors, which centered around OG Anunoby, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley.
“The Knicks will continue to be active on the trade market,” wrote Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on December 30. “While losing Quickley seemingly hurts a potential trade package for Murray on paper, Murray remains a player the Knicks are interested in acquiring, league sources said.”
Murray’s affiliation with Klutch Sports Group is thought to be a roadblock to a Knicks trade.
The Knicks are helmed by team president Leon Rose and executive William Wesley, both of whom were competitors of Klutch as part of CAA in their previous roles.
But Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reported that all was not lost for the Knicks in their pursuit of the potentially disgruntled Hawks star.
“I'm told that Klutch would consider changing its current stance if there is an in-person meeting between Paul and the Knicks, presumably including Rose and Wesley,” Begley wrote on December 24. “Until and unless the two sides meet in person, the Klutch-Knicks Cold War will remain in place.”
This remains a situation to monitor on various levels.
Murray, who has shared messages about being “built” for whatever he was experiencing at the moment and about random checkups being essential, is averaging 20.2 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 37.9% from beyond the arc, the second-highest of his career.
His 52.5% effective field goal percentage and 55.3% tru shooting mark are career highs. A former steals champion, Murray is also averaging 1.5 steals for the second consecutive season.
And yet, thanks in large part to the team’s success, or lack thereof, Murray finds himself in what has become a familiar place for Hawks players in recent years: on the rumored trade block. He joins John Collins of years past.
More recently, Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter.
The Hawks have been slow to act on anything despite all of the speculation. So assuming this means Murray will be traded is a step too far. But things have not been going well for the team and, when that happens, changes usually follow.
Clint Capela calls out ominous issue for Hawks
“It just gets harder and harder to take, honestly,” Capela said after the Hawks blew an 18-point second-half lead to the Sacramento Kings, per Kevin Chouinard of NBA.com on December 29. “It just sucks to lose like that, especially tonight because I really felt that we did better, and also I also I felt that we just let (SAC) feel more confident.
“We’ve just got to do a better job and I don’t know, talk to each other? Scream at each other? I don’t know, we’ve got to do something.”
Capela previously lamented the Hawks’ transition defense.
“This is something that we have to get better, do more consistently: transition defense,” Capela said via athhawksfans on YoutTube on November 19. “It’s been a problem since I got here. But it’s something that we just have to find consistently.”
On the season, the Hawks are allowing the sixth-most (tied) points per transition possession, per NBA.com
It’s not just that, though. At least it wasn’t against Sacramento.
The Hawks outscored the Kings on 11-8 in fastbreak points and 26-11 in second-chance points. But they were outscored in the paint 52-40.
Capela logged a double-double, his 14th of the season. Onyeka Okongwu was able to contribute seven points and three rebounds with one assist, one block, and one steal. But was a minus-11 on the night while the bench was a minus-29 combined.
Things need to change fast for the Hawks before they spiral out of control, if they haven’t already.