The Los Angeles Lakers are still pursuing Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray as their top target in the trade market and have their eyes on three players on the Brooklyn Nets, according to NBA insider Shams Charania.
The Nets players that Charania mentioned include wings Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale as well as guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
"Dejounte Murray is going to continue to emerge as the top target for the Lakers, from what I'm told…Another scenario to keep an eye on, players that the Lakers do have interest in I'm told, is three guys from the Nets: Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, Royce O'Neale."… pic.twitter.com/fSlRUxzzpq
— Run It Back (@RunItBackFDTV) January 31, 2024
Charania mentioned that he expects talks on Murray between the Lakers and Hawks to resume before the deadline on Feb. 8.
It had recently been reported that the Lakers’ interest in Murray was trending downward due to D’Angelo Russell’s improved play, but Los Angeles is coming off two straight losses on a back-to-back this week that has pushed the team below .500 on the season.
The Lakers are the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference with a 24-25 record. The team may need to make a move – similar to last season – to have a chance to contend for a playoff spot and title this season.
Murray, a former All-Star, is averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for the Hawks this season. The Hawks guard also has an upcoming contract extension that runs through the 2026-27 season (and has a player option for the 2027-28 season). It is worth more than $114 million.
The Lakers might view Murray as a long-term piece to help them in the 2023-24 season and beyond, but they would likely have to part ways with some significant assets to land him.
If the team wants to go a cheaper route, adding one of the Nets players that Charania mentioned could be an easy fix.
Finney-Smith still is under contract through the 2024-25 season and has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign, so he’d likely cost the most out of the three players from Brooklyn.
However, the former Dallas Mavericks wing has been solid this season, shooting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 9.1 points per game. It’s possible that the team views him or O’Neale as an upgrade over wings like Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and others currently on the roster.
O’Neale, who is in the final season of his contract with the Nets, is shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc this season while averaging 7.1 points per game.
Dinwiddie is a different player than Finney-Smith and O’Neale as he would give the Lakers some more ball-handling help. The Nets guard is averaging 12.9 points and 6.1 assists per game this season.
Ultimately, the Lakers have to make a decision on whether or not they want to make a trade. If the team does go that direction, there are several options available in the market.
For now, the Lakers have a little more than a week to assess where they stand and make a decision on how to improve the team’s title chances.