Hawks trade All-Star DeJaunte Murray to Pelicans: Report

Atlanta Hawks trade All-Star guard DeJaunte Murray to New Orleans Pelicans Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

In return, the Pelicans is reported Sent back first-round picks in 2025 and 2027 to Atlanta for center Larry Nance Jr. and guard Tyson Daniels. The 2025 pick is an unprotected pick for the Los Angeles Lakers, while the 2027 picks are less favorable for the Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks.

Murray is entering the first season of the four-year term of the $120 million contract he signed with the Hawks last offseason.

The trade is another big swing in the NBA offseason, with the Pelicans trying to upgrade a core already headlined by Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum. As for the Hawks, they’re moving on from a player who should help them take the next step.

Since trading Davis, the Pelicans have been slowly building themselves back into a playoff team. That effort led to a 49-33 record last season.

The Pelicans’ season ended with a first-round sweep at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it was hard to look at their performance and think they needed more experience to stand out in the West.

With Murray, the Pelicans get a player who should reasonably slide in with McCallum in the backfield while adding to the team’s defensive identity. With the strong defensive principles of Herb Jones and coach Willie Green, the team finished sixth in the NBA last year with a defensive rating of 111.9.

Murray and McCollum are skilled ball handlers who are threats on the perimeter, and Williamson forms the foundation of the Pelicans’ new offense with Trey Murphy as he attacks the paint. As he is a free agent next season, Ingram’s role could be in flux with the addition of Murray.

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With Jonas Valanciunas an unrestricted free agent, the Pelicans have a few things going for them. By selecting Baylor big man Yves Missy with the 21st overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft, New Orleans has a significant hole in the paint.

The Pelicans bet big by trading for Murray, which didn’t work out well for the last team that did it.

The Hawks acquired Murray from the San Antonio Spurs in the summer of 2022, parting with a bigger package than the Pelicans gave up (three first-round picks, a big swap and Danilo Gallinari). At the time, there was hope that Murray could be a great complement to Trae Young, a player with major defensive deficiencies who needed the ball to be effective.

It’s hard to argue that Murray didn’t do his best, but the overall effect was, at best, frustrating. The Hawks went 41-41 in his first season with Murray and 36-46 in his second. The team’s defense was a mess, and head coach Quin Snyder’s entire season didn’t help.

So the Atlanta area is hitting the reset button. Unless the Hawks want to tear the team to studs, Young isn’t going anywhere. He, De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic are under contract for at least two more seasons, and parting ways with Murray could be a way for the team to retool a formula that hasn’t worked so far.

Still, it’s hard not to see this trade as acknowledging that paying Murray was a mistake in the first place.

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