“Atlanta is looking for at least two first-round picks, according to The Ringer,” wrote NBA insider Michael Scotto. “The Hawks are not looking to take back salary past this season, league sources told HoopsHype.
“With that in mind, the Lakers have been arguably the team most linked to Murray due to his representation at Klutch Sports, the agency for various Lakers on the current team.
“Any framework for a Murray trade to the Lakers would likely involve guard D’Angelo Russell, league sources told HoopsHype. However, that would be contingent on Russell being flipped to a third team from Atlanta in the process. Russell’s $18.69 million player option for next season and his playing style next to Trae Young isn’t viewed as a fit for the Hawks.
“As ESPN reported, Los Angeles’ 2029 first-round pick would almost assuredly have to be included.
“How else could Los Angeles get to Atlanta’s asking price of two first-round picks? Perhaps rookie first-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino could be included in trade talks if they advance further, but it’s worth noting Atlanta chose Kobe Bufkin over him in the draft months ago.
“The Hawks coveted Lakers guard Austin Reaves in trade talks surrounding Murray but were denied by Los Angeles, league sources said.”
Russell has been playing better lately, highlighted by a 39-point performance against the Utah Jazz on Saturday. He also is coming off a 29-point game in a 127-110 win against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old last month was removed from the starting lineup after head coach Darvin Ham consulted with stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis about the move. However, he has since returned to the starting five. For the season, Russell is averaging 15.7 points and 6.1 assists per game in 38 appearances.
The Lakers have had an up-and-down season so far that has them with a 21-21 record. A significant cold stretch of 12 losses in 17 games raised questions about Ham’s future, but those rumors have quieted recently.
However, the Lakers undoubtedly need to improve if they hope to return to the Western Conference Finals this season. They are entering Thursday’s NBA action as the No. 10 seed in the West, which is the last play-in position.
James and Davis have been outstanding, but the supporting cast continues to leave something to be desired. Murray conceivably has what it takes to provide a boost as a more legitimate third option behind the two superstars.
The 27-year-old is averaging 21.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in 40 appearances for the Hawks this season. Despite those strong numbers, Atlanta also currently sits as the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference but with a 17-23 record.
The Hawks reportedly could be true sellers approaching the trade deadline. The Lakers reportedly could be facing competition for Murray’s services from multiple teams as he also has been linked to a handful of other organizations.
Rumors surrounding Murray will likely continue until he is traded or the deadline passes. Whether the Lakers have enough to complete such a deal will be something to monitor over the next few weeks.