A Murray acquisition will help the Hawks contend in the East
A Murray acquisition will help the Hawks contend in the East. Teams are still making moves even though the NBA Draft is over and free agency discussions don’t begin until Thursday, June 30 at 6 p.m. ET. Wednesday’s news reports suggested that the Atlanta Hawks and the San Antonio Spurs had been involved in the first significant trade of the offseason.
In exchange for the Hawks handing back Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks, along with a pick swap in 2026, the Spurs transferred their All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Eastern Conference. To assemble an All-Star team around point guard Trae Young, the Hawks didn’t have to make significant sacrifices.
Through Charlotte, the Hawks are also sending their own 2025 and 2027 first-round picks to the Spurs in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick from them. After signing Murray, the Hawks should be a playoff club for the foreseeable future, thus their two first-round picks shouldn’t be very high. The Hornets’ pick, which is comparable, may be said to be.
The 2023 first-round pick may also be mid-to-late in the draft the following year as Charlotte commits to at least toy with the Play-In tournament. The first-round picks for 2025 and 2027 are also unprotected, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The Hawks’ backcourt will be difficult for rival teams to handle in the upcoming season. Murray and Young will be the first teammates in NBA history to average 20 points and 8 assists per game in the previous campaign.
The Hawks thought they were on the verge of something spectacular after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020 as Young established himself as the team’s face. However, this past season, when they finished as the No. 8 seed and lost to the Heat in five games, they took a step back.
In his first All-Star appearance, Murray averaged a career-high 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals during the previous season. With 13 triple-doubles throughout the season, he also established a new Spurs single-season record. The pairing of this combination in Atlanta going forward will be interesting to see, but it’s difficult to see this move as anything other than a victory for the Hawks.
Murray has two more seasons left on his four-year, $64 million rookie extension contract with the Spurs, which he signed in 2020. Prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2023–24, he is expected to make $16.5 million in 2022–23 and $17.7 million in that same year.
For the Spurs, there are several ambiguities surrounding this transaction. They are making room for the future by taking on Gallinari’s expiring deal, and the future firsts further highlight the Spurs’ long-term outlook. Gallinari’s $21.5 million salary for the following season is only partially guaranteed.
Additionally, he was committed to the Spurs for two additional seasons and nearly $34 million. Last year, San Antonio made it into the Play-In tournament, highlighting how awful the Lakers’ performance in the postseason was and how the Spurs even had a chance to do so.
In essence, the Spurs obtained a veteran contract for a 25-year-old All-Star who is expiring, three selections that are projected to be in the late teens to mid-20s, and these items. Do we have permission to describe the Spurs’ intention to “tank” for the upcoming season? Nevertheless, as Micah Adams of TSN has demonstrated, their recent first-round picks have been largely disappointing, with Murray’s selection at No. 29 in 2017 serving as the lone outlier.