Hawks Eye Expanded Deal for Knicks Trade Target Dejounte Murray: Report

Dejounte Murray, Lakers

Getty Dejounte Murray

If the New York Knicks still want to acquire Atlanta Hawks’ two-way star Dejounte Murray, they might have to absorb one of Atlanta’s unwanted contracts.

According to The Athletic’s John Hollinger, a former front-office executive with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Hawks plan to attach Clint Capela or De’Andre Hunter in any potential Murray deal to clean their books.

“League sources say the Hawks have had continued chatter on potential Murray deals,” Hollinger wrote on January 14. “Some will tell you they’re getting close to the finish line, while others will say the Hawks are still on a fishing expedition to determine the trade value for him and other key players (such as Hunter and Capela).

The overly optimistic extensions for Capela (one more year left at $22.2 million) and Hunter (three years left after this one for a total of $70 million) also have handcuffed the Hawks’ team-building. Part of the appeal of trading Murray just months after he agreed to a four-year, $114 million extension is that his contract could be the bait to stuff Capela or especially Hunter into a deal.

On the other hand, there’s little chance they get anything close to what they gave up to acquire him.”

Between the two Hawks veterans, Capela would be the better choice for the Knicks. The Swedish center could come in as Isaiah Hartenstein’s backup while Mitchell Robinson is on the mend. He could also serve as insurance if Hartenstein bolts out this summer.

The Hawks earlier sought Immanuel Quickley and a first-round pick for Murray, according to Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer named the Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons, while The Athletic’s Shams Charania also added the San Antonio Spurs, Murray’s former team, to the mix.

Some Teams Monitoring Mitchell Robinson’s Health

Mitchell Robinson is generating trade buzz in the wake of optimism that he could return later in the season and the emergence of Isaiah Hartenstein.

“As we noted on [January 10], some opposing teams doing their homework ahead of the trade deadline wanted to know more about Robinson’s health. Those teams now have some information to work with. They also should be able to evaluate him in the postseason,” SNY’s Ian Begley wrote on January 11.

Begley added the Knicks plan to re-sign Hartenstein and keep their two centers together. But if Hartenstein keeps his remarkable play, it will be a tough sell for him to remain as a backup in New York if other teams will offer him more money and a larger role.

The durable Hartenstein is expected to get a massive raise from his bargain $8.1 million salary this season. On the other hand, the oft-injured Robinson will enter the third of his $60 million, four-year deal next season.

Knicks ‘Got Rid of Softies’

The Knicks have become a much better team defensively after trading away Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett in two separate moves.

According to Knicks beat reporter, Steve Popper of Newsday, those twin moves allowed the team to solidify their defensive identity under Tom Thibodeau.

“One team source pointed out that in moving out Obi Toppin in the summer, then Barrett and Quickley recently, ‘We got rid of the softies.’ The Knicks roster now consists nearly completely of hard-nosed defenders,’ Newsday’s Steve Popper wrote on January 13.

The Knicks have been the league’s best defensive team by a mile since the OG Anunoby trade.


Read More