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Dejounte Murray Traded to New Orleans

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Some big Friday trade news in the NBA as the Hawks have traded Dejounte Murray in exchange for Dyson Daniels, Larry Nance Jr., the Lakers’ 2025 first-round pick and the least favorable of New Orleans’ and Milwaukee’s 2027 first-round picks.

Atlanta kicked off the NBA Draft Wednesday night by selecting Zaccharie Risacher with the first overall pick, and in our rolling liveblog we posited that the next question that needed to be answered for this team would be if they kept the Trae Young and Dejounte Murray backcourt pairing together headed into the regular season this fall. They didn’t make us wait long to find out.

At the very least, this signals a new direction for Atlanta. If they continue with Trae Young as the franchise’s centerpiece, don’t expect them to bring in another ball dominant guard any time soon. Instead, they’re likely to fill in the gaps around Young and third-year forward Jalen Johnson, who had a breakout season in 2023-24 and will be needed a contract extension by this time next season. They’ve got a head start on that, bringing on Risacher in the draft along and now the duo of Daniels and Nance. Two defensive-minded wings and a backup frontcourt option who makes a lot more sense if (or when) they decide to ship Clint Capela and his expiring contract off to a contender before February’s trade deadline.

But there’s also a slim chance that this is the beginning of a massive teardown. The Hawks don’t control their own draft picks for the next three seasons. Their 2025 and 2027 unprotected first-round picks and 2026 unprotected first-round swap rights are owned by the San Antonio Spurs, who pried them away from Atlanta in a trade for Murray just two years ago. I don’t think this is likely, but the door is still open for San Antonio and Atlanta to work out a deal to give some or all of those picks back in exchange for Young. That would kick the Victor Wembanyama era into high gear for the Spurs, while allowing the Hawks to fully push the reset button before next summer’s loaded draft. Again, unlikely, but not out of the question.

For the Pelicans, it’s the win-now move that we’ve been expecting to see at some point this offseason. Even though Murray hasn’t been up to the all-defense level in Atlanta that we came to expect from him during his time with the Spurs, I’m of the mind that he could get back to that form in the right situation. While his defensive intensity fell off with the Hawks, his three-point shot developed extremely well. A well below-average shooter with the Spurs, Murray buried 36.3% of his threes on 7.1 attempts per game last season.

Murray is entering his age-28 season. He’s still in his prime, and I think New Orleans fans have the right to be very excited about this move. Replicate that consistency from three we saw last season with the Pels going forward and up the defense back to where we know it can be, a menace both on and off the ball, and Murray can elevate this team in a serious way.

Another thing I feel confident in saying is that the Pelicans are not done. I still expect them to try to move on from Brandon Ingram (who is on an expiring deal), and I think for the right return CJ McCollum is on the block as well. They still need to replace Jonas Valanciunas at center, as he’s an unrestricted free agent and not expected to be brought back. David Griffin and his staff have made one thing clear; they’re trying to bring this roster into true contention in the Western Conference. They just took a big step toward achieving that goal.

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