Dejounte Murray is one of the most improved players in the league this season, averaging a near triple-double as the best player for the San Antonio Spurs. The lengthy point guard is putting up 19.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 9.0 APG while shooting 44.9% from the field. An above-average defender as well, the 25-year-old has come a long way since getting drafted with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Obviously, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is very fond of the young man because of his two-way play.
But it seems Murray could be on the trading block because a ton of teams are expressing interest in the talented guard. A point guard who can rebound at an elite level and also defend the backcourt consistently is very hard to find, especially if the offense is one of their greatest strengths. The Spurs will not give up Murray for just any player and will require a package of first-round picks and other young players for a trade to work. Luckily, we have selected 4 major trade packages that could send Dejounte Murray out of San Antonio.
Here are the most realistic trade packages for the 2018 All-Defensive Team performer, a young man who is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. It will not be cheap to lure Murray from San Antonio, but 4 teams might have a big chance to do so by packing picks and talented players.
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Dejounte Murray, Keita Bates-Diop
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Kent Bazemore, 2027 First-Round Pick
The Los Angeles Lakers are clearly looking for a change because they will not settle for how their season is going so far. They hold a putrid 23-24 record and are at a heavy risk of not making the playoffs, something that would be unbelievable considering how well LeBron James has been playing this season. As things stand, the Lakers are not going anywhere with Russell Westbrook at the point guard position, and there are even talks of him coming off the bench to accommodate new players. Even if Westbrook plays, his defense has been subpar, to say the least, and the Lakers need help on the perimeter.
With LeBron James playing subpar defense as well, the Lakers are having a terrible time stopping opponents on defense. The answer to their problems could come in the form of Dejounte Murray, a talented two-way guard who gets after it on defense. Most importantly, he brings fresh legs at age 25 to make up for the older depth chart that the Lakers are throwing out there every night. A capable defender and rebounder, Murray can also give Russell Westbrook space to do what he does best as well.
The Lakers are reportedly shopping their most valuable trade asset in Talen Horton-Tucker, a swingman who can score and set up others for good looks as well. Los Angeles held onto him for dear life last year, at the expense of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and they are regretting that at this point. Horton-Tucker is only averaging 10.5 PPG this season on 41.5% shooting, subpar numbers for a starlet of his caliber. But the 21-year-old has plenty of potential because he has a well-rounded skill set that is not suited for a title-or-bust Lakers at this point.
The Spurs will build around Horton-Tucker, a 26-year-old Kendrick Nunn, and a valuable first-round pick if they accept this deal. Out of all the realistic deals, this one might not be enough for the Lakers to acquire the budding All-Star but anything is possible at this point.
New York Knicks
New York Knicks Receive: Dejounte Murray
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Kemba Walker, Obi Toppin, 2023 First-Round Pick, 2022 Second-Round Pick
The New York Knicks need to make changes because they have not come close to the level they reached last year. The legendary franchise has some talented players including All-Star Julius Randle and future star RJ Barrett, but the rest of the roster has been made expendable. More specifically, the team needs another star on the court to relieve pressure off Randle. The big man has come under pressure this season and it has seemingly affected him on the court.
If New York can let go of their 2020 No. 8 overall pick and a future draft pick along with Kemba Walker and a second-round pick, they might have a crack at Dejounte Murray. Kemba Walker is almost running out of steam, and his future is looking bleak because his knees are truly shot. The former All-Star can still score the ball and should fill the void left by Murray in San Antonio temporarily. Meanwhile, Toppin kickstarts a rebuild because the 23-year-old athlete has a very high ceiling if he can ever reach it.
Of course, the 2023 pick is the most valuable piece in the trade package because they can kickstart the rebuild as Gregg Popovich begins his new chapter after coaching. Again, this package is more of a hopeful one because there could be better offers for the Spurs elsewhere. The biggest winners in this deal are the New York Knicks, who bring on a budding All-Star to pair with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. Quite possibly a Big Three that will could lead the Knicks past the first round of the playoffs, New York can only pray that the Spurs will indeed move on from Murray and kickstart a rebuild immediately.
Boston Celtics Receive: Dejounte Murray, Keita Bates-Diop
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Marcus Smart, Aaron Nesmith, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2025 First-Round Pick
The Boston Celtics could be looking for a trade this season because basking in mediocrity has never been the franchise motto. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on board, the Celtics should have the right pieces to be a playoff contender. But the team is not performing, holding a poor 25-24 record which means they will be in the play-in as things stand. That is too risky for a team as inconsistent as Boston is, because they are capable of losing against anybody. It seems their offense is not clicking because the two stars are taking all the shots.
Meanwhile, the Spurs could use some picks as they continue towards a long-term rebuild. Marcus Smart is 27 years old but he is an elite defender who can replace and possibly usurp what Murray brings on the defensive end on the court. Of course, he can be traded again later if San Antonio finds younger pieces to add to their roster. Aaron Nesmith is a very athletic guard who is improving his game by the year, and he could reach a high ceiling at only 22 years old. Most importantly, 2 first-round picks mean the Spurs get what they are looking for in the long term.
For Boston, they finally grab a capable two-way guard to bolster the team on both ends of the floor. Murray is capable of being the primary playmaker or playing the two alongside Dennis Schroder, meaning Tatum and Brown can fill the frontcourt alongside Robert Williams in small-ball lineups. With the amount of talent and athleticism that the Celtics possess, going small could work in their favor. No matter what, Boston is close to being a contender again and Murray could be their answer as the franchise let go of their valuable first-round picks for a star player.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2023 Second-Round Pick (From Indiana)
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Ben Simmons
No player has been involved in more trade rumors than Ben Simmons, a multiple-time All-Star who is still only 26 years of age. The two-way point guard is incredibly gifted as a passer and defender, although his shooting has been the subject of criticism from media members and fans alike. It might be time to accept that Simmons will never be a knockdown shooter and that focusing on his strengths is the best way for him to reach superstardom. Based on what we have seen from him so far, he is entirely capable of doing that.
Unfortunately, Simmons becoming a superstar player will not be benefitting the 76ers anytime soon. There is no way back for Simmons after the thread was cut between him and the team, meaning the two-way star could be on his way to another city. There is no secret that the 76ers have been shopping him intensely, but they might not find a more suitable package than the one San Antonio can offer. Murray is clearly on his way to becoming an All-Star, and he will form a dynamic duo with Joel Embiid. Philadelphia had great success with Simmons on their roster, but Murray brings things similar to what Simmons brought except with more consistent shooting. Not to mention, Derrick White is an excellent addition for a contender because he is also a solid defensive player who is capable of making outside shots (34.1% from three over his career). The 27-year-old guard is putting up 14.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 5.6 APG this season; meaning he is capable of starting for Philly or coming off the bench.
For San Antonio, there are very few players better than Simmons in building a team around. The two-way All-Star can defend 4 positions at an elite level and can have an impact similar to LeBron James in terms of making others around him better while doing a lot of things on the floor at an elite level. The Spurs need to find their next star to lead them into the future, and instead of waiting for the lottery, they can get it with a potential transcendent player that impacts the game in every way. If there is a franchise that can build a superstar out of Simmons, the Spurs could be the best destination.