Reality is setting in, it seems, for everyone involved.
The Atlanta Hawks (19-27) have been one of the most often talked about teams in terms of trade rumors, dating back to the offseason. But all of their rumored discussions have come up empty.
At last check, the Los Angeles Lakers’ pursuit of Dejounte Murray has essentially been put on hold amid dissatisfaction with the offers on both sides. But the Lakers’ recent change of heart regarding D’Angelo Russell may not be so unique.
“Another interesting wrinkle to emerge on the Murray front: League sources say Coach Quin Snyder has lobbied the Hawks to keep him,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on January 29.
The reason, according to Stein, is a combination of Murray’s especially strong play of late as well as his team-friendly four-year, $114 million contract extension that does not kick in until next season.
Murray, 27, is averaging 23.3 points on 59.5% true shooting over the last 20 games.
He’s also chipped in with 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.0 steals while shooting 41.4% from beyond the arc with a few game-winners mixed in.
Murray has said that he wouldn’t address trade rumors out of respect for his teammates. But he has gone on the record to say that his teammates and coaches are fond of him. He and Snyder also built up a bond this past offseason.
Stein’s report is notable with the allegation of Murray’s interaction with a fan on social media.
It re-enforces that previously established bond in what has been a trying season on the floor for the Hawks.
With less than two weeks before the trade deadline, though, we will have to hold off before declaring anything certain. And the Hawks still have a glaring issue to address if they do hold on to Murray.
Dejounte Murray-Trae Young Combo has not been working
The Murray-Trae Young pairing – which both players pushed for last season – bore historic fruit. But it did not translate to wins, with the Hawks finishing 41-41 and getting bounced from the playoffs in five games by the Boston Celtics.
This season’s 19-27 record has not instilled much confidence.
The Hawks are also struggling with their top stars on the floor together this season, boasting a minus-5.3 net efficiency differential in those possessions, per Cleaning The Glass.
Last season, that mark was plus-1.6. They also have a better net efficiency differential with Young on the floor without Murray (plus-2.6) than the other way around (minus-0.3). But, at less than two full seasons into the experiment, it makes sense to give it more time.
Especially since the Hawks have other players they have had rumored interest in moving.