Three First Rounders ‘Should Be Plenty’ for Lakers to Land Dejounte Murray: Report

While the Los Angeles Lakers patiently wait for LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell to make their free agency decisions, Dejounte Murray of the Atlanta Hawks is another big name that would give the Lakers a huge shot in the arm.

Kevin Pelton of noted in his piece about how all 30 NBA teams can nail their offseasons, “As soon as they make the No. 17 pick in this month’s draft, the Lakers can trade that pick along with first-round picks in 2029 and 2031, which should be plenty to land Murray from the Hawks. If Los Angeles can use the 55th pick to draft Bronny James, helping persuade LeBron James to re-sign long term this summer or extend after exercising his player option, all the better.”

What Does Murray Bring to the Lakers?

Murray is a 6-foot-5 combo guard originally drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2016 NBA Draft (29th overall), who has a proven track record of scoring, facilitating and defending.

While he hasn’t done everything in the same season, it’s a rare feat for a player to make the NBA All-Defensive Team (2nd, 2017-18), be the NBA’s per-game steals leader (2.0, 2021-22), average over 9 assists per game (9.2, 2021-22) and score over 20 points per game (22.5, 2023-24). That kind of versatility is exactly what the Lakers need right now, especially in a relatively young player (Murray will be 28 in September).

The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha teamed up to report about new head coach JJ Redick’s plans for LeBron, saying “Redick described a system molded around this roster, focusing on elevating Anthony Davis’ involvement, particularly late in games, and alleviating the constant ball-handling duties on James by utilizing him more off the ball. Keeping James, who turns 40 in December, fresh down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs will be critical.”

If Russell re-signs with the Lakers and Murray is added to the fold, that creates a solid 1-2 punch at guard. Both players can assume the ballhandling reins and be scorers, with Murray taking the more daunting defensive tasks.

What Would a Murray Trade Look Like?

In addition to the three first-round draft picks (2024 No. 17 overall, 2029, 2031), the Lakers would need to match Murray’s salary. They are currently projected to be a first-apron team, which means they cannot take in more salaries than they send out.

Murray extended his contract with the Hawks in July 2023, awarding him a 4-year, $114 million contract that kicks in for the start of the 2024-25 league year. He’ll make $25.2 million, which the Lakers could match with a combination of small contracts paired with a re-signed Russell ($18.6 million), Rui Hachimura ($17 million) or Gabe Vincent ($11 million).

From the Hawks’ perspective, bringing in a point guard to pair with Trae Young doesn’t make a lot of sense. The reason Murray is being talked about in trades is that they haven’t jelled as expected, putting up just a 20-31 record as a pair in 2023-24.

After putting up an impressive 42.2% 3-point percentage last season, Hachimura would be an interesting choice. He’s not going to replace Murray’s defense by any stretch of the imagination, but Young needs space to maneuver and Hachimura needs a playmaker to get him the ball. It’s not as explosive on paper, but when you add three first-round picks to the mix, the Hawks are getting plenty of value.

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