Why the Raptors are the Lakers' key to trading for Dejounte Murray

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks
Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have been unable to right the ship thus far in 2024 and with the trade deadline right around the corner, the trade rumors surrounding the purple and gold are starting to heat up.

The biggest name attached to the Lakers right now is Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. Murray and Trae Young simply do not mesh well together and the odds of Murray being traded have seemingly grown in recent weeks. With the Lakers' struggles (and their Klutch Sports connections), they have become the most talked-about potential destination.

As bad as the Murray-Young partnership has been, Murray still has a lot of trade value and the Lakers may not have the assets to get a deal done. Any Murray trade would almost have to include Austin Reaves, whom the Lakers reportedly have no interest in trading. As great as Reaves is, the numbers say that LA shouldn't be this stubborn about trading the former undrafted free agent.

If Los Angeles sticks to its ways and does not offer Reaves in a deal then there is only one real way this trade can happen. The Lakers would need to loop in a third team and that third team would likely have to be the Toronto Raptors.

Pascal Siakam and the Raptors are key to the Lakers trading for Dejounte Murray

While Atlanta has struggled this season the Hawks are still a team that wants to be competitive. The team is not entering blow-it-up territory and just needs to switch things up in order for the team to actually be competitive this season and beyond.

Atlanta has no real reason to take a Lakers trade package that only includes future picks (remember, the Lakers can only trade one unprotected first-round pick). The Hawks need assets that can help now in return, hence why Reaves has to be in this deal.

But if the Lakers are savvy enough, the team could combine two trade rumors into one. Atlanta has been tied to Pascal Siakam, who almost inevitably will be traded this season. Murray is not a great long-term fit next to Scottie Barnes in Toronto and the Raptors are a team that should be piling up on youth and future assets.

That creates an intriguing scenario for all parties. Siakam can be traded to Atlanta, Murray can be traded to Los Angeles and Toronto would get all the assets from both teams. Young players like De'Andre Hunter and Jalen Hood-Schifino would be packaged alongside the likes of D'Angelo Russell. Meanwhile, the Hawks can send a first-round pick while the Lakers can send an unprotected first and a pick swap.

Two firsts, a pick swap, and two solid young players is a pretty good return for a player whose contract will expire after the season. Atlanta can pivot off of Murray and the Lakers could, theoretically, get Murray without trading Reaves.

If the Lakers are going to make a splash for Murray then the front office is going to have to get creative; that or stop being stubborn about Reaves.

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