Struggling rival named as trade suitor for Hawks' Dejounte Murray

Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray is a hot commodity in the trade rumor mill, which has now linked him to a struggling franchise ahead of the deadline.
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

Despite reports to the contrary, Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray is rumored to be open to a trade to the San Antonio Spurs.

“As far as the business, I’m gonna stay professional and be a good teammate,” Murray said, per TNT’s Dennis Scott during the Hawks’ win over the Spurs on January 15. “Pop is like a father figure to me, I would welcome it. But right now, I’m a Hawk. I’m gonna stay professional, play the right way.”

“Pop” is, of course, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, for whom Murray has had nothing but praise since leaving San Antonio. He even credited Popovich with wanting what was best for him (Murray) when the Spurs traded him to the Hawks.

Murray has also leaned on staying professional when previously asked about trade rumors.

But this one stands out if for no other reason than speculation that a reunion with the Spurs could be against Murray’s wishes.

The one-time All-Star and steals champion is said to be eyeing a team with a chance to contend right away. That makes the Spurs’ inclusion surprising. But not as much as the newest team to see its name thrown into contention.

“The Spurs are said to be among the teams that have expressed a level of interest in trading for the very available Murray along with an evolving list of suitors believed to include the Lakers, Nets, Knicks and Pistons,” wrote Marc Stein of The Stein Line on January 16.

Most of those names have been well-documented with Murray's connection to Klutch Sports Group both viewed as a positive for a potential trade with the Lakers and a detriment for the Knicks. Even the Nets came up during the recent episode of the "Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective" podcast.

Murray’s previous connection to San Antonio explains overlooking the Spurs’ 7-32 record.

But Detroit’s mention is a bit more surprising. The Pistons’ are the only team with a worse record than the Spurs, sitting at 4-36.

It took a matchup against the trade-depleted Toronto Raptors for the Pistons to snap their NBA record-tying 28-game losing streak earlier this season. None of that would seem to appeal to Murray.

It would also seem to make little sense for a team like Detroit to pursue Murray.

But Detroit has been a team linked to Raptors star Pascal Siakam as well, as they look to turn their fortunes around.

Murray is in the final year of a four-year, $64 million contract, and he will start a four-year, $114 million extension next season. The Hawks face a hefty trade kicker if they deal him away, and he has been mentioned as a vehicle to help offload some of their other onerous contracts

Reggie Miller puts Hawks players on notice

“His name is not the only one this Hawks team [being mentioned in trade rumors],” Reggie Miller said in reaction to Scott’s report. “De’Andre Hunter, you’ve got [Bogdan Bogdanovic], you’ve got Clint Capela … All four of those guys names being mentioned potentially, on that February 8 [deadlin]. So he’s not alone.

“Sometimes it can be a badge of honor too to have your name [mentioned] … to be wanted elsewhere.”

Hawks players are no strangers to trade rumors.

Trade chatter has followed this team since their run to the Eastern Conference Finals and even before that. They have acknowledged the rumors but have not indulged in questions about them. With a 16-23 record on the season, though, it will take a lot of work to make the rumors go away and, it seems, avoid a roster shakeup.