Lakers Show Trade ‘Interest’ in $114 Million All-Star: Report

It’s not exactly new to make note of the fact that the Lakers like point guard Dejounte Murray and would very much welcome him on their roster in the future. He is not the kind of superstar who could carry the roster in a post-LeBron James world, but he is the kind of third-wheel role player who could help make the most of the final years of the LBJ-Anthony Davis tandem.

If the Lakers can’t swing a trade for a major new star—Donovan Mitchell is their top pick for that job—then the player who makes the most sense might well be the guy who was the focus of trade deadline discussions back in January and February: Murray.

While Murray is not necessarily an offensive upgrade from current point guard D’Angelo Russell, he is one of the better two-way guards in the NBA, when he’s engaged at the defensive end. Playing alongside James, he would have to be. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, gathering better two-way players should and will be a focus of the Lakers’ offseason with new coach JJ Redick in the fold.

That means Murray is one of the team’s best possible targets.

“The pressure is on the Lakers front office to make changes to this roster..

They have to be aggressive and I think Dejounte Murray will come up in trade conversations”@ShamsCharania #PMSLive

— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) June 21, 2024

Lakers Need Better Defensive Guards

Certainly, if anyone knows a thing or two about the dangers of having a defensive liability on the floor during the NBA playoffs, it is Redick—after all, he was a weak spot defensively and was frequently targeted by opposing offenses during the postseason in his playing career.

For the Lakers, Russell was too often a glaring weak link in the playoffs in the past two seasons. They’ll need to be better going forward, with the kind of two-way switchability that the Celtics showed in winning the 2024 NBA title.

“When you think about JJ Redick and the principles he wants to implement, defense, point-of-attack defenders, versatile players, what we saw with Boston, like a few years ago with the Warriors … people are going to try to follow their trend. They have five players, especially in the starting lineup that can do multiple things, none of them are weak defensively, they play both sides of the ball,” Charania told “The Pat McAfee Show.”

Expect defense to be a buzzword as the Lakers make changes. “They’re gonna look at that side of the ball and be aggressive,” Charania said.

Dejounte Murray a Former All-Defense Selection

Murray was an ace defender during his time with the Spurs, and earned an All-Defensive second-team slot in 2018. His defensive prowess slipped with the Hawks, a team whose defense was weak overall, during the past two seasons, but the ability to be a top-shelf defensive guard is there.

Murray can also run the offense if, indeed, Redick seeks to get the ball out of the hands of James. He averaged 22.5 points and had a solid year as a shooter, making 36.3% of his 3s on 7.1 attempts per game. He was an All-Star in his final season with the Spurs, and is just entering a reasonable four-year, $114 million contract extension he signed with the Hawks last year.

Said Charania of Murray: “One name that they did pursue at the trade deadline that I think teams around the league expect to come up again in trade conversations over the next week or so and makes sense for the Lakers is Dejounte Murray with the Hawks. That’s someone that, you think about the next week or so, what do the Hawks do not only with the No. 1 overall pick, but they have a decision to make with Trae Young, with Dejounte Murray, which player stays, which player goes?

“The Lakers have maintained a level of interest in Dejounte Murray over the last several months.”

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