Lakers’ $114 Million Trade Target Sends Cryptic Message After NBA Draft Lottery

Lakers' LeBron James against Dejounte Murray

Getty LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to drive against Dejounte Murray #5 of the Atlanta Hawks.

The Atlanta Hawks winning the NBA Draft Lottery could benefit the Los Angeles Lakers, who are looking for a major upgrade following their first-round exit.

The Lakers’ past trade deadline target, Dejounte Murray, sent a cryptic message after the Hawks stunningly bagged the No. 1 pick despite having just a 3% chance heading into the lottery.

“NBA OFF SZN Bouts To Be Crazyyyyyy!!!! Lol 👀😅🍿,” Murray posted on X following the NBA Lottery results on May 12.

The Lakers held advanced talks with the Hawks centering on a Murray deal in the weeks leading to the last February trade deadline. But the deal fell through.

In January, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported that the Lakers and Hawks “have discussed potential frameworks of a deal” for Murray centered around D’Angelo Russell, Jalen Hood-Schifino, a 2029 first-round pick and additional draft compensation.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, the Lakers were reluctant to include Austin Reaves in a potential Murray deal. The Lakers stood pat and opted to keep their powder dry.

Now, they have three available first-round picks on Draft Night to offer in a more significant trade.


Dejounte Murray Over Trae Young

With the No. 1 pick, the Hawks can reset and split their Trae Young-Murray backcourt.

Between the two Hawks backcourt stars, Murray is the preferred choice, according to a Western Conference executive.

“Whatever the Lakers do, they’re going to put a lot of emphasis on fit,” the Western Conference exec told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney. “Say what you will about their roster, but Rob Pelinka really did try to get pieces that work together and not just bring in the names. They learned some things from the whole Russell Westbrook experience (in 2021). If you want to bring in a star, then, OK, but he has to be willing to be a third option and he has to defend. That’s Dejounte Murray, it’s not Trae.”

Besides the fit, Murray has a team-friendlier contract.

Murray’s four-year, $114 million contract extension with the Hawks kicks in next season starting at $25.5 million.

It’s about $18 million less than Young would get paid next season. Young will enter the third season of a five-year, $215 million contract.

Young has the better numbers — 25.7 points and 10.8 assists, the only player in the league to average 25 points and 10 assists last season — and more All-Star appearances in his resume. But Murray, who averaged a career-high 22.5 points this season on 45.9% overall shooting and 36.3% 3-point clip, has the length and defensive skillset, which the Lakers lacked in their past two postseason exits.


Trae Young Moves to CAA, Dejoute Murray Remains with Klutch Sports

Young made an intriguing move to cut his ties with Klutch Sports, whose top clients are LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and moved to their rival, Creative Artists Agency, after the Hawks season ended in the play-in tournament.

“When I say it, I really mean it..,” the three-time All-Star, Young, posted on X on May 7. “Another Day, Another Opportunity.”

According to Buha, Young’s move could have an impact on his future.

“Trae Young switching from Klutch Sports to CAA theoretically decreases the odds that he ends up in L.A.,”  Buha said on “Buha’s Block” on May 10. “Does that increase the odds that Dejounte Murray may end up in L.A. or that maybe he’s the one that ends up getting moved?”

Murray has remained with Klutch Sports.

 

 

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