It appears Dejounte Murray’s days in Atlanta are numbered, and the Hawks could be open to trading him to their division-rival Miami Heat.
Multiple reports have indicated that the Hawks are ready to concede that the backcourt of Murray and Trae Young isn’t working after 1 1/2 seasons and are actively looking to trade Murray and retool around Young and forward Jalen Johnson.
That makes Murray one of the better players on the trade block ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline. While the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers have been mentioned as suitors for Murray, Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer reports that the Heat and Hawks have had recent conversations about a Murray trade.
"“Miami has left rival teams with the impression that the reigning Eastern Conference champions are looking for ball-handling reinforcements. The Heat are another suitor to keep an eye on for Murray, although there hasn’t been anything substantive beyond initial talks between Atlanta and Miami at this point, sources said.”"- Jake Fischer, Yahoo! Sports
Fischer’s report that the Heat are in the market for a backcourt upgrade echoes others from USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and NBA insider Marc Stein.
The Heat are in the thick of a crowded playoff race in the East and, though Kyle Lowry has been useful, he’s also 37 and will be a free agent this summer. If Miami is looking for an immediate upgrade, Lowry’s contract could be the easiest to move in a deal for a player with a large salary.
Making Murray more appealing is that his $18.2 million cap hit for this season makes him easier to trade for than, say, Chicago’s Zach LaVine ($40 million this season) or Toronto’s Pascal Siakam ($37.8 million).
As Fischer notes, Murray’s contract – his four-year, $114 million extension kicks in next season – and two-way potential make him an ideal fit on most rosters.
"That leaves us with Murray, a 27-year-old, 6-foot-5 combo guard posting career numbers, before a four-year, $114 million extension kicks in for the 2024-25 campaign. His defensive reputation may have proven overstated since coming out of San Antonio, but Murray is still valued as a true plus on that end of the floor. Combine all of his production with the looming new ramifications of a harsher second luxury-tax apron, and Murray’s longterm number is considered relatively modest for his talents."
Finding a deal that works could be difficult. The Heat would likely most want to swap Lowry for Murray, but Lowry makes $11 million more. Duncan Robinson’s contract ($18.1 million) is a closer match, but he’s been important as a floor-spacer and facilitator during this renaissance season.
The Hawks could have interest in two-way wing Caleb Martin, but his $6.8 million salary doesn’t come close to matching Murray’s and he’s a free agent after the season. It’s doubtful that the Heat would want to include Jaime Jaquez Jr. in a deal, and unclear if they’d be willing to give up on 20-year-old Nikola Jovic, who has played well for the Heat as of late.
On the court, Murray makes sense for the Heat. His ability to score, play-make and defend makes Murray an ideal fit around tentpole stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. But the rival front offices would have a lot to hash out should they pick conversations back up before the trade deadline.