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Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons are all rumored to have interest in trading for Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. However, only two of these franchises have actually made a trade offer for the 2022 All-Star, per Yahoo Sports insider Jeff Fischer (h/t The Saturday Stein Line podcast): the Lakers and the Jazz.

NBA Rumors: Hawks Have Only Received 2 Offers For Dejounte Murray

Lakers, Jazz Have Made Offers For Dejounte Murray

The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly in a precarious position due to LeBron James’s increased dissatisfaction with their play. Subsequently, a franchise once said to have won free agency is again scrambling to make a season-saving in-season roster move. This season, that move seems to be trading for Dejounte Murray.

Murray, 27 years old, is an athletic lead guard that can score from all three levels and uses his length to create deflections on the defensive end. With those traits, he would be an upgrade over incumbent starter D’Angelo Russell. Russell is the more natural jump shooter. Still, the variance in his production is not a property that Murray’s play possesses. Consistently delivering efficient 20-point performances, Murray also excelled in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. In just his third playoff appearance, Murray averaged 23.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. He was efficient, shooting 44.7 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent from 3.

In short, Murray’s efficacy was heads and tails above Russell’s. D-Lo had strong moments up until the 2023 Western Conference Finals. Yet, Russell ended that playoff run with averages of 13.3 points, 4.6 assists, and 0.7 steals per game. His production pales in comparison to Murray’s but so does his efficiency, as he shot 42.6 percent from the field and 31.0 percent from 3.

Pairing Murray with fan favorite Austin Reaves in the backcourt isn’t going to be perfect. The Lakers’ point-of-attack perimeter defense will leave something to be desired. L.A.’s outside shooting will be a bit less reliable. Nonetheless, their backcourt is going to be upgraded.

Why are the Jazz interested?

It’s unclear what the Utah Jazz offer for Dejounte Murray includes. However, Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Olynyk, and Talen Horton-Tucker appear the most likely candidates to be traded. Considering the Atlanta Hawks’ insistence on receiving Austin Reaves in a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers than D’Angelo Russell, the fiery Collin Sexton may appeal to them as well as a starting-level off-guard.

In any case, a trade for Murray would allow them to enhance their play at point guard. While starter Kris Dunn’s game-manager approach on offense has helped keep the Jazz steady, Murray would be a definitive upgrade over him in terms of scoring production. Dunn is only averaging 5.2 points per game whereas Murray is averaging 21.5 points per game. Furthermore, though Dunn is a better on-ball defender, Murray possesses similar physical traits with his length and athleticism.

Yet, should Sexton—averaging 21.6 points per game as a starter this season— be moved for Murray, Utah could seek to pair the Seattle native with either Dunn or prized rookie Keyonte George in the backcourt. Clarkson, a favorite of Jazz head coach Will Hardy, could also see himself returning to a starting role.

The combination of Dunn and Murray provides the Jazz with two respectable defenders. The duo of George and Murray could deliver as clutch performers. Pairing Murray with Clarkson gives Utah two slashers capable of scoring at least 20 points in any game. Because the 6-foot-5 Murray has better length than the 6-foot-3 Sexton, he may be a more feasible fit in any resulting backcourt configuration. Then there’s the idea of pairing Murray with Sexton. This is a scenario in which the Jazz would have two two-way playmakers who have plenty of heart.

From a bird’s eye view

Looking at either the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz as trade partners, one can see why the Atlanta Hawks are slow to accept an offer. Dejounte Murray is an unnatural fit beside Trae Young. Nonetheless, none of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, or Collin Sexton are a definitive upgrade over him. Even if the Hawks were to acquire Austin Reaves, this is likely the case.

Frankly, the best trade target for Atlanta is no longer available: now New York Knicks wing OG Anunoby.

A premier 3-and-D player who’s off-ball play a defensive expertise are natural fits beside Young, Anunoby seems to have found a long-term home in New York after being traded from the Toronto Raptors. He’s meshed well with his new teammates, and performed as well as anyone could have hoped. Looking around the league, there are other 3-and-D players that the Hawks should have interest in. Just probably not if the price is Murray.

That said, the best 3-and-D player that could be available for trade from the teams that have shown interest in Murray? San Antonio Spurs wing Devin Vassell. Averaging 18.6 points per game on 37.6 percent shooting over the past two seasons, Vassell has starter-level production and efficiency. Similar to Murray, he’s better as an off-ball defender than on-ball. Nonetheless, the Atlanta native is still a more natural fit beside Young offensively, as he’s an off-ball wing rather than an on-ball guard.

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