There is no doubt that there are a lot of teams that are looking to improve going into the offseason. Two of those teams are the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings. The Hawks made the playoffs this year but were eliminated in the first round, while the Sacramento Kings ended up missing out on the play-in tournament despite making a win-now move for big man Domantas Sabonis.
Perhaps a three-team trade could help those teams improve. This trade features the Atlanta Hawks getting Spurs star Dejounte Murray, while the Sacramento Kings would get promising power forward John Collins. The San Antonio Spurs would get a package featuring Harrison Barnes, but the main appeal for them would be the multiple first-round picks involved. Here is the hypothetical trade package.
Atlanta Hawks Receive: Dejounte Murray, 2023 Second-Round Pick (SAC)
Sacramento Kings Receive: John Collins, 2024 Second-Round Pick (SAS)
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Harrison Barnes, 2025 First-Round Pick (ATL), 2023 First-Round Pick (SAC), 2025 First-Round Pick (SAC)
Atlanta Hawks Get A Co-Star For Trae Young
During the playoffs, the Miami Heat were clearly focused on swarming Trae Young and trying to get the ball out of his hands and limit his influence on the game. While a lot of Hawks players play their role effectively, adding in another All-Star caliber player like Dejounte Murray who can punish defenses for zoning in on Trae Young could be beneficial for their chances of contention. Notably, it was reported that Trae Young and Dejounte Murray are interested in playing for the same team, so this trade would make that happen.
Dejounte Murray would help the Atlanta Hawks on many levels. He would quite likely be the secondary ballhandler behind Trae Young and take on some of the offensive load. Murray would also allow Trae Young to play more off the ball, and off-ball ability is a useful skill to have for any sharpshooting guard. It is quite clear that Dejounte Murray would help the team on the defensive end as well: he led the league in steals during the 2021-22 season, and his perimeter defense would definitely make up for some of Trae Young's deficiencies on that end of the floor. The Atlanta Hawks would also get a second-round pick in this trade scenario, which is a small asset but could end up being useful if they draft right.
To get this deal done on their end, the Atlanta Hawks would have to give up John Collins and a first-round pick, and that seems to be a fair price to pay to get a bonafide All-Star. Even though John Collins is a promising big man, he is not quite a star within the Atlanta Hawks context, and the Hawks have notably been trying to trade him for a while.
Acquiring Dejounte Murray would be absolutely worth it for the Hawks. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray would comprise one of the best backcourts in the league, and he would definitely make them a much better team.
Sacramento Kings Acquire A Power Forward That Fits Well Next To Their Stars
The Sacramento Kings' two best players are De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. While both of them are good players, they aren't particularly adept from the 3PT range, which means they require a player that can capably space the floor from the power forward position. John Collins would provide that spacing similar to Harrison Barnes, and on top of that, he would give the team a lob threat and provide some rim protection for the team. Domantas Sabonis is a good rebounder, but he doesn't necessarily protect the rim, so John Collins in theory would be the perfect fit next to him. A previous report mentioned that the Sacramento Kings had an interest in Collins, and it is easy to see why.
John Collins notably has shown that he can thrive in a larger role in the past, and he averaged 21.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG during the 2019-20 season. Perhaps he can replicate those numbers on the Sacramento Kings, and it is quite possible that he'd be the No. 2 scoring option behind De'Aaron Fox. Obviously, that would depend on how head coach Mike Brown would use him, but there's definitely some potential for John Collins to produce at a higher level in a new environment.
The Sacramento Kings would be sending out two first-round picks and Harrison Barnes' contract in this deal. Sending out an expiring contract and two first-round picks for a young athletic power forward with upside, that also happens to be on a long-term contract, should be a no-brainer for them.
John Collins could potentially help the Sacramento Kings make the playoffs. The Kings have the longest playoff drought in the league, and they have clearly been trying to get to the postseason by making win-now moves. Perhaps they can do so with this trade.
San Antonio Spurs Get A Solid Package For A Rebuild
The San Antonio Spurs were only the 10th seed last season despite Dejounte Murray making an All-Star team, and they ended up losing to the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament. Perhaps this means that it is time for a re-tool: Dejounte Murray is already 25 years old and turning 26 in a few months, and trading him could bring in a good number of assets. On top of that next year's draft includes players like Victor Wembanayama and Scoot Henderson, which means that doing a re-tool for a year could be worth it if it means getting an elite-tier franchise cornerstone by drafting in the lottery with their own pick.
This trade would get the San Antonio Spurs three first-round picks, two from the Sacramento Kings, and one from the Atlanta Hawks. Having three first-round picks would allow them to have plenty of prospects in the future, and the San Antonio Spurs are notably a team that drafts well as well, so perhaps they could end up finding some gems with those picks. Harrison Barnes would be included in this deal for salary matching purposes, but he would be a valuable trade chip at the 2023 trade deadline, as he is a solid two-way forward that could be a difference-making role player on a contender.
It remains to be seen if the San Antonio Spurs do end up trading Dejounte Murray. There were reports that they could trade him to the Atlanta Hawks in the past though, so perhaps we will see it happen.