The Atlanta Hawks dropped another contest, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies 125-119 despite holding a larger lead in the game at one point than the Grizzlies ever did, including the final margin of defeat.
That will almost surely add fuel to the trade rumor fire that had already begun given the way they’ve trended since Thanksgiving, going 5-15 in that span.
Before the loss, news broke over the New York Knicks’ rumored interest in Dejounte Murray.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto singled out the Knicks in his report on December 23. But he said they were among a host of potential suitors. But the Knicks’ interest could still be stronger.
“Some prominent members of the organization see Atlanta's Dejounte Murray as an ideal trade target,” wrote Ian Begley of SportsNet New York on December 24. “New York had interest in trading for Murray in the 2022 offseason. At that point, Murray was viewed by some as a great fit with lead guard Jalen Brunson.”
The interesting part about Murray’s potential fit alongside Brunson, a first-time All-Star last season, is that any trade would signal a failure of the Murray-Trae Young combo.
Both stars entered the season determined to make it work. But they both set expectations.
Brunson has more experience sharing the backcourt with another ball-dominant player in Luka Doncic while with the Dallas Mavericks. Young has been viewed as resistant to such an arrangement, and this year’s results would seem to support that.
The Hawks star’s usage rate is the lowest it has been since his rookie season. But it jumped from 30.3% before Thanksgiving to 33.5% after.
They were 7-7 over that initial stretch and have gone 5-10 since.
“New York the rights to nine first-round picks over the next five drafts. The club also owns Detroit's 2024 second-round pick, which will be in the low 30s,” Begley notes. “Would the Hawks move Murray a little more than 18 months after acquiring him?”
Insider weighs in on Hawks' potential asking price for Dejounte Murray trade
The Hawks surrendered three first-round picks (two of their own which were unprotected) and a pick swap to the San Antonio Spurs for Murray ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Atlanta is 50-53 with Murray in his one-plus seasons in a Hawks uniform.
Begley says that teams describe the Hawks as being “receptive” to trade offers, though he does not specify if that includes talks regarding Murray. He also notes that it would be a “seismic shift” for the front office.
“It would surely require several first-round picks and young, ascending players,” Begley continues. “The Knicks can put that kind of package together.”
Begley also notes the “cold war” between Murray’s representation, Klucth Sports headed by Rich Paul, and the Knicks’ front office helmed by Leon Rose and William Wesley. But he adds that an “in-person” meeting between the two sides could resolve the issue.