The biggest name that has been attached to the Los Angeles Lakers leading into the trade deadline has been Dejounte Murray. Things haven't gone so well with the Murray and Trae Young pairing, which served as the origin story for these trade rumors.
As the deadline has gotten closer a Murray trade has gotten less likely. While anything is possible in the NBA, the buzz around Murray is not as prominent as it was a few weeks ago. Many fans think it is more likely that Murray is traded to another team at the deadline than the Lakers.
However, that might not be as likely as fans would think as the market for Murray has not been as robust as the Atlanta Hawks likely expected it to be. Not only has the Murray market been quiet, but the only reported team that is in the mix isn't really in a position to trade assets for the point guard.
On the latest episode of 'The Saturday Stein Line', NBA insider Jake Fischer said that the only other team that he heard has put an offer in for Murray is the Utah Jazz. Utah seems like a team that should be acquiring assets by trading players, not trading assets away.
Utah Jazz revealed as Lakers' biggest competitor for Dejounte Murray trade
Ironically, the Lakers and Jazz are right next to each other in the standings but both teams are in vastly different positions. The Lakers could actually make a title run with LeBron James and Anthony Davis while Utah is never going to make that kind of run this season.
For that reason, the Lakers are seemingly in a much better position to trade for Murray. With Utah likely dangling its trade assets at the deadline, it doesn't seem to make much sense for the team to actually be in on Murray.
But then you consider the grander picture of the trade market and a Murray trade for the Jazz seems to make a lot more sense. First of all, Utah has many more tradeable assets to send for Murray than the Lakers do, which naturally puts the team ahead.
Heck, the Jazz could include some of the players that the team may look to trade in a Murray deal. Atlanta may want to add a player like Jordan Clarkson or Collin Sexton in a Murray trade. There is more upside there than with D'Angelo Russell.
Fischer reported that Atlanta is looking for two first-round picks and a good young player. Utah is in a much better position to make that kind of offer than the Lakers are.
And while Utah might not in a position to contend this season, trading for Murray could be the best move in the long run. It Atlanta is willing to do the trade for a package built around Clarkson and two picks then the Jazz might be able to turn that into more by getting Murray back to form and eventually flipping him in the future.
Or, if Murray returns to form, Utah would suddenly have a great 1-2 with him and Lauri Markannen that suddenly becomes one piece away from being a title contender. The long-run implications are great, and with more assets than the Lakers, the Jazz may be a much more reasonable trade destination for Dejounte Murray.