Well, it’s official. The Atlanta Hawks upgraded their backcourt by adding All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs, but it came at a hefty price, including a trio of first-round draft picks in 2023, 2025, and 2027.

Trae Young Dejounte Murray Trade Atlanta Hawks San Antonio Spurs
Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs tips the ball away from Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, but now the two adversaries will become teammates after a huge trade. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The Hawks also added forward Danilo Gallinari in the deal, but they’ll only pay for a portion of his salary. Gallinari grew up in Italy where he earned the nickname the Italian Rooster. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game over his 14-year career. He was relegated to the Hawks’ second unit for the past two seasons where he averaged 12.4 ppg off the bench.

The Spurs look like they’re punting on next season by giving up Murray — their best player — in a trade. Head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs front office would love to land Victor Wembanyama in the upcoming NBA Draft.

Wembanyama — a highly-touted, 7-foot-2 center prospect out of France — has drawn comparisons to Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant, according to NBA scouts in Europe. Even if the Spurs don’t hit the jackpot in the 2023 NBA Draft lottery, they’ll have a stockpile of draft picks to make a run at Wembanyama.

The Spurs saw their 2023 NBA Championship odds drop from +30000 last week to +80000 as of this morning. Only the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets — the last-place teams in each conference last season — have worse title odds than the Spurs.

20/9 club: Murray and Young

During his tenure with the Spurs, Murray improved season-to-season, emerging as one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Murray led the league in steals last season with 2.0 per game and played solid defense against some of the premier point guards and shooting guards in the Western Conference.

In 68 games with the Spurs last season, Murray averaged an impressive 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game. Fantasy basketball owners loved his ability to stuff the stat sheet. His PER rating of 22.32 was ranked #13 in the league and he was the third-top guard in that advanced metric, trailing only Trae Young and Luka Doncic.

With Murray joining Young in the Hawks’ backcourt, they become the first pair of teammates who averaged 21 points and 9 assists per game in the previous season. Young finished fourth in the race for the scoring title with 28.4 ppg while dishing 9.7 assists per game, which was ranked third overall. Murray was the fourth-best dish man in the league.

With the addition of Murray to go along with Young, the Hawks now boast one of the premier backcourts in the Eastern Conference. They also have a legit defensive stopper in their backcourt with Murray to make up for Young’s lackluster defense.

The Hawks were +8000 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship and saw a noticeable bump when the trade rumor about Murray and the Spurs surfaced a few days ago. You can back the Hawks to win the title next season at +3500 odds via DraftKings. The Hawks are +1400 odds to win the Eastern Conference and are the sixth-best team on the futures board.

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