After spending months very openly shopping Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter, and Clint Capela, the Atlanta Hawks chose to stand pat at the trade deadline in a fairly surprising pivot amid a bit of an upswing for the team.
The Hawks have won six of their last eight to create some breathing room for the 10th spot in the East and certainly seem destined for another Play-In appearance, but at 24-29, they’d need an incredible second half to really create some true optimism for the future with this group. Most expect the Hawks to make a trade of some kind this summer, both for roster reasons and tax reasons (Tony Ressler has yet to pay the luxury tax as an owner and Atlanta has not exactly been stealthy when making moves for cap reasons in the past), but what that trade is remains to be seen.
Murray’s play of late has sparked a certain segment of fans in Atlanta to call for the Hawks to build around him rather than All-Star guard Trae Young, and it appears the front office is at least willing to consider such a course change, as reported by Marc Stein in his newsletter on Monday.
I can tell you this much: They’ve certainly convinced various rival teams that a Dejounte In/Trae Out course is going to be legitimately considered.
The Hawks, to be clear, have not made a firm decision yet. This isn’t the time to lock into such a lane with 29 games left in Atlanta’s season and a trip to the Play-In round, at the very least, more than within reach. How the rest of the season plays out is obviously going to factor into those next steps.
The decision to keep Murray, however, certainly has more than a few front offices out there believing that the Hawks could reach the point — provided this season doesn’t end well — that they entertain the most dramatic possible reset.
Now, how much of this is opposing front offices wishcasting Young onto the trade market is unclear, as it wouldn’t be surprising if other teams wanted the All-Star guard to become available rather than Murray. That said, I wouldn’t put anything past this Hawks front office and it also could come down to whether Young applies any pressure to the organization after another difficult year.
Young is having one of his best statistical seasons as a pro, yet needed an injury replacement selection to make the All-Star team, and despite a noticeable uptick in defensive effort this year, he still carries a reputation as a one-way, “empty stats” guy to many fans. He may come to the conclusion sooner than later that a fresh start might be needed to shed that label. Adding to the intrigue of the guard dilemma in Atlanta is both Murray and Young are repped by the same agency, and Klutch Sports has to walk a fine line navigating what’s best for both of their clients.