Lakers rumors rekindled, once again linking team to Atlanta Hawks guard

The Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks have been linked in trade rumors for months on end. The rumors have returned ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.
Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets
Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to the Atlanta Hawks in trade rumors for what's bordering on a basketball eternity. Both of Atlanta's All-Star guards, Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, have been linked to Los Angeles as potential targets to extend the Lakers' championship window.

With the 2024 NBA Draft nearing, the interest persists as the Lakers continue to look to Atlanta as a fit for their updated vision.

Murray and Young are two of the most compelling players in the NBA. In addition to ranking among the most productive players at their arguably shared position, they offer qualities that the Lakers are understandably intrigued by.

In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that, after a brief period of silence, Murray is back on the trade radar in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN reported the same, naming Murray and Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton as potential trade targets on the first night of the 2024 NBA Draft.

"The Lakers likely will explore the trade market to see what type of veterans they can add to give LeBron James, Anthony Davis and new coach J.J. Redick the best chance of competing this season, with NBA names such as Dejounte Murray and Collin Sexton being batted around by rival teams as possible targets."

Murray has been a target for Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka since before the trade deadline, which certainly lends credence to these rumors.

Dejounte Murray is a Lakers trade target once again

Los Angeles is reportedly more interested in adding depth to its roster than going all-in on a star. That could explain the prioritization of Murray over Young, as the latter is owed $43,031,940 for the 2024-25 season, $45,999,660 in 2025-26, and has a $48,967,380 player option for 2026-27.

With salary cap rules effectively preventing teams from building balanced rosters around a big three, trading for Young would prohibit further improvement around Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

As for Murray, he's entering the first season of a reasonable four-year, $114,070,207 deal. At $25,266,266 for the 2024-25 season, he fits reasonably well into the Lakers' limited cap flexibility and would likely require Pelinka to part with fewer assets to get a trade done.

While trading for Young would likely require Los Angeles to ship out both Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves due to financial restrictions, Murray's salary is affordable enough to lose just one of the two.

As for what Murray brings to the court, the 27-year-old fits the point-of-attack defensive vision that head coach JJ Redick envisions, per Charania. At 6'5" with a 6'10" wingspan and All-Defense honors on his résumé, his prowess and positional versatility would be invaluable to the Lakers.

Offensively, he's also one of the most productive guards in the NBA, with 2023-24 averages of 22.5 points, 6.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 2.6 three-point field goals made per game.

It's worth noting that Murray took his game to an entirely different level in the 28 games that Young missed this past season. During those outings, he averaged 25.1 points, 9.1 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 3.3 three-point field goals made.

Alongside Davis and James, as well as the ideally-retained Reaves, Murray could remind skeptics of why he was an All-Star in the first place.