Spurs Kick Off Victor Wembanyama Derby Dejounte Murray trade grades: Hawks get ‘A’ for pairing All-Star with Trae Young; Spurs’ mark incomplete The Hawks have one of the best backcourts in the league; the Spurs have a better chance at Victor Wembanyama. The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to trade Dejounte Spurs Kick Off Victor Wembanyama Derby Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, three future first-round picks and future first-round pick swap, CBS Sports HQ’s Bill Reiter confirmed Wednesday.
The Spurs will get a 2023 first-round pick via the Charlotte Hornets, and unprotected 2025 and 2027 first-round picks via the Hawks. The pick swap between the Spurs and Hawks will be in 2026 Spurs Kick Off Victor Wembanyama Derby.
Spurs Kick Off Victor Wembanyama Derby
Murray, a late first-round pick back in 2016, is coming off the best season of his career, in which he led the league in steals and made the All-Star Game for the first time. He averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists and two steals, while shooting 46.2 percent from the field. All of those marks were career-highs. The Hawks will now pair him with Trae Young to form one of the best young backcourts in the league.
As for the Spurs, they are pivoting towards a rebuild one they hope will set them up with the first pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and a chance to take Victor Wembanyama. The 7-foot-2, 18-year-old French big man is widely seen as a generational prospect, and has already impressed as a professional in his native country.
Let’s grade the trade. Hawks Receive:
After their surprise run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2021, the Hawks appeared to be a team on the rise. Instead, they took a step back last season and had to pull off a big comeback against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament just to sneak into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
In January, when the team was still floundering under .500, GM Travis Schlenk gave an interesting interview in which he admitted to reading too much into their 2021 playoff run. “Maybe I need to lower my expectations for this team,” Schlenk said. “I have to accept that responsibility that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring everybody back. That’s on me.”
To what extent the Hawks will be able to challenge the entrenched contenders at the top of the East remains to be seen — and will depend on what other moves they make this summer — but they are much better now than they were before the trade. Here’s a look at the boost Murray gives them based on SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh’s projections:
In addition, Murray is a talented playmaker and is coming off his most efficient scoring season. It’s worth noting, though, that he’s best finishing around the rim or scoring from the mid-range, and shot just 32.7 percent from 3-point land last season. That brings up perhaps the most interesting aspect of the trade, which is that it would seem to necessitate Young playing off the ball more than he ever has in his career.
Young, who shot 48.1 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season (albeit on just one per game), is more than capable of doing so. However, it will require a serious buy-in from a player who is used to having the ball in his hands more than just about anyone in the league. Plus, it will be interesting to see how that would affect the Hawks’ offense. For all their defensive issues, they scored at will last season, finishing second in the league at 115.4 points per 100 possessions behind Young’s potent pick-and-roll approach.
Grade: A Spurs Receive:
- Danilo Gallinari
- 2023 first-round pick via Charlotte Hornets
- 2025 first-round pick via Atlanta Hawks (unprotected)
- 2026 first-round pick swap via Atlanta Hawks
- 2027 first-round pick via Atlanta Hawks (unprotected)
- When the Spurs traded Derrick White to the Boston Celtics for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a 2022 first-round pick (who became Blake Wesley) and a 2028 first-round pick swap at the trade deadline last season, it came as a bit of a surprise. Now, though, we can view it as the first step in a teardown.
They continued to dismantle their roster on Wednesday by trading Murray, who is one of the most interesting young guards in the league, and coming off the best season of his career. There’s no hiding their intentions at this point: the Spurs diving head first into the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.
It’s hard to blame them. Wembanyama, a 7-foot-2, 18-year-old Frenchman, is one of the most intriguing prospects to come across the world stage maybe ever. His ridiculous combination of size, length and coordination make him a destructive defensive force who can challenge every shot at the rim and more than hold his own on the perimeter. Offensively he is a constant lob threat and has shown impressive touch away from the basket. (For more, check out this breakdown by our own Kyle Boone.)
If the Spurs’ tank succeeds, and they wind up with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, then this could go down as a league-altering trade. Wembanyama has a chance to be that special. However, the deal is putting a lot of stock in winning the draft lottery, which is no guarantee given the new flattened odds. You could have the worst record in the league by 10 games and still easily wind up picking No. 3. There would still be a good player available at that pick, but no Wembanyama. If that happens, you’re really banking on the Hawks falling apart in a few years — something that is less likely now that they have Murray.
The 2023 pick via the Hornets is likely going to be in the middle of the first round, and the 2025 pick via the Hawks figures to be toward the back half of the first round as well. The 2026 pick swap and 2027 first via the Hawks are too far off in the future to discuss with any certainty, but there’s a good chance neither are particularly meaningful. In that very realistic scenario, you didn’t get much for an All-Star guard entering his prime. Of course, the Spurs know all of this, just as they know that by keeping Murray (and White) they would be left spinning their wheels in mediocrity.