Hawks HC gives behind-the-scenes details of Dejounte Murray trade

Nate McMillan

The Hawks kicked off the NBA offseason in a big way by trading for Dejounte Murray, giving Trae Young his first teammate to make an All-Star appearance, marking a new era for the organization.

Many Hawks fans are excited about the idea of pairing Young with such a versatile, defensive guard like Murray, and how could anyone blame them. It seems like Atlanta had been mentioned in every trade rumor that surfaced over the past two years, and finally, the club landed an elite-caliber player.

In today’s NBA, it is all about star power. To even make an NBA Finals, you need at least two All-Stars. And Trae Young knows that better than any. In a broadcast of the Summer League, Nate McMillan joined Matt Winer and Isiah Thomas, giving his thoughts on the move to acquire Murray, noting how important it was to Young.

“He’s a two-way player and a guy that plays downhill. We have, with him in the backcourt with Trae…Trae really wanted us to make that move. We saw that we could get him. Trae really wanted him to be a part of our team. And I told Trae, ’what this is going to do is allow us to play you off the ball a little bit more’. Real similar to [Thomas] and [Joe] Dumars. You got two guards that now can play with the ball, play off the ball. That combination, the fact that he can defend multiple positions, allows us to play faster,” McMillan stated.

Thomas and Dumars famously led the Bad Boys Pistons teams to back-to-back championships in 1989-1990, so those are certainly high expectations for the new duo in Atlanta. McMillan would go on to give more details on the trade.

“The focus was to improve defensively. Bringing in Murray allows us to do that. His length at the guard position will allow him to play against the top wings. He can do a good job of keeping the ball in front. But he can chase as well. That was the thing that we felt we needed to improve on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, he gives us another weapon that can play with the ball, play without the ball and we love that combination.”

Murray is one of the best perimeter defenders in basketball and gives the Hawks a complementary skillset to Young. There are obvious risks with giving up so much draft capital, but it seems Murray wants to be in Atlanta and Young got his wish. The only way things turn sour is if Murray decides to enter free agency in a couple of seasons. Still, Hawks fans should feel confident about the team’s chances of re-signing the former Spurs star.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
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