Lakers Expected to ‘Make a Push’ for $114 Million Star Guard

Lakers potential trade target Dejounte Murray

Getty Lakers potential trade target Dejounte Murray

The Atlanta Hawks were the benefactors of a major surprise turn of events at the 2024 NBA draft lottery, landing the first pick despite just a 3% chance of doing so. And no sooner had the pick been confirmed than questions arose about the future of the team, specifically star guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, both of whom have been linked as trade targets for the Lakers.

No doubt, Atlanta is looking to shake up the roster, and a trade of Young or Murray—or, crazy as it sounds, both—might be in the cards depending on how far the team wants to dip into a rebuild.

While Young has greater starpower, the belief around the NBA is that the Lakers would prefer to target Murray if a deal with the Hawks comes to fruition.

“Whatever the Lakers do, they’re going to put a lot of emphasis on fit,” one Western Conference exec told Heavy Sports. “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.”

Lakers Attempted a Hawks Trade in January

Murray averaged a career-high 22.5 points this season in Atlanta, making 45.9% of his shots and 36.3% of hits 3-point tries. He continues to show remarkable durability despite having undergone ACL surgery in his third NBA season—he played 78 games this year after having played 74 last season.

A pursuit of Murray would not exactly be new for the Lakers. During the weeks leading up to the NBA’s trading deadline in February, the Lakers were in deep talks with the hawks on a potential Murray deal, with a package built around Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura heading to Atlanta. Those talks fizzled, though.

That deal could come up again. It will help that the Lakers will have two additional draft picks they could include for Murray to sweeten the pot as they try to reconfigure their offensive attack, which got too easily bogged down throughout the season.

“They need shooting and Murray is OK on that, he is not a great shooter but he has gotten better,” an Eastern Conference GM said. “He can create, he is a good passer and he can play really good defense. It looked like they were going to do the deal (in February) but the Hawks backed off. A lot of times, the stuff you work on in February, you bring it back up at the draft, and that’s probably where this is headed.”

Dejounte Murray Preferable to Trae Young

It helps, too, that Murray comes at a relatively reasonable price. Last summer, he agreed to a four-year, $114 million contract with the Hawks, which kicks in next season starting at $25.5 million.

Young, meanwhile, is entering the third year of a five-year, $215 million contract that is slated to pay him $43 million next season. He is coming off his third All-Star season, having averaged 25.7 points and 10.8 assists, the only player in the league to average 25 points and 10 assists last season.

“But he needs the ball, you know?” the executive said. “You can’t drop him onto a roster with AD and LeBron James and say, ‘Go make it work.’ There’s not enough basketballs for all three. You do not have that problem with Murray.

“They made a push for Dejounte once, they will make a push for him again.”


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