The Dejounte Murray trade comes with risk, but was a necessary move for the Hawks to make

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After weeks of rumors, the Hawks and Spurs finally came to a deal that sent Dejounte Murray to Atlanta. Travis Schlenk’s primary goal of the offseason was to find a running mate for Trae Young, and before free agency even opened, that box was checked. It didn’t come without a high cost, though. The Hawks are sending three first-round picks to the Spurs return, and San Antonio can also swap picks with Atlanta in 2026.

There’s no question this move comes with a lot of risk for Atlanta. The 2023 first-round pick is a protected one from Charlotte, but the others are the Hawks’ in 2025 and 2027 and are unprotected. By then, Murray could be out of Atlanta if things don’t pan out and Young could follow him, leaving the Hawks with no players and no picks — a nightmare situation that could take a decade to dig themselves out of.

With that being said, this was a gamble the Hawks had to pull the trigger on. They have plenty of talent already on their roster — this is a team that is just a year removed from being two games away from the NBA Finals. Adding a talent like Murray puts them in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, which is a conference that has been won by a different team in each of the last five seasons. With Trae Young entering his second contract and the conference as wide open as it has ever been, this wasn’t the time to be passive.

Additionally, the Hawks should feel confident that they can move things around and extend Murray when it’s time to do so. Like Young, he’s also represented by Klutch Sports, and the two clearly have a relationship. It’s no coincidence this deal happened the way that it did. The devil works hard, but NBA agents work harder to land their players in favorable situations. If Murray didn’t want to be in Atlanta, this deal would have never come to fruition, and as long as Young and Murray are on the same team, the Hawks will be in the playoffs, rendering those picks essentially useless.

The trade really comes down to two things. Murray’s fit with Young, which I believe will be seamless; the two complement each other very well. And Schlenk’s belief in himself. If the Hawks believe in what they are building here, and if Schlenk thinks he can make the necessary moves to build around arguably the best backcourt in the NBA, then this trade was a no-brainer. Picks, especially in the NBA, don’t matter unless you’re high up in the lottery. This is a gamble the Hawks had to take, and it could be what leads them to their first championship since moving to Atlanta.

Photo: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire

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