How realistic are Lakers' chances of acquiring Dejounte Murray, Trae Young?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Atlanta Hawks guards Dejounte Murray and Trae Young in trade rumors. How realistic is the pursuit of those respective All-Stars?
Houston Rockets v Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

As the Los Angeles Lakers commence the search for a long-term solution at head coach, another organization can't seem to stop appearing in related rumors. The Atlanta Hawks have been linked to the Lakers for months on end, with trade rumors connecting both Dejounte Murray and Trae Young to the 17-time NBA champions.

As the Lakers look to navigate what can only be described as a convoluted 2024 NBA offseason, the Hawks will continue to be mentioned until a final decision is made.

Los Angeles was linked to Atlanta near the 2024 trade deadline, with Murray being the most commonly discussed potential target. Along that same timeline, the Lakers began to be connected to Young, the other member of the Hawks' star-studded backcourt.

The odds of acquiring both players are beyond astronomical, but the interest clearly exists within the Lakers organization to trade for one of the better guards in the NBA.

Before discussing fit and cost, it should be acknowledged that Atlanta is coming off of a season in which it won 36 games. That's at least somewhat alarming considering what one would expect from a backcourt pairing as talented as Murray and Young.

Both players remain among the most intriguing options for the Lakers to consider, however, which is why the question persists: How realistic is the dream of acquiring one of Murray or Young?

How realistic is the Lakers' pursuit of Dejounte Murray?

Murray, 27, is a former All-Star, All-Defense honoree, and NBA steals leader. Despite tearing his right ACL in 2018, the former Washington Huskies star has carved out a niche as one of the better two-way guards in the Association.

In 2023-24, Murray appeared in 78 games, averaging a career-best 22.5 points and 2.6 three-point field goals made, as well as 6.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals.

In terms of how realistic a potential trade for Murray could be, it's actually within the realm of possibility. 2024-25 will be the first season of his four-year, $114 million contract, with a bargain rate of just $25.5 million due.

In terms of a potential trade, the $17.0 million owed to Rui Hachimura in 2024-25, for instance, would already have the Lakers on the cusp of matching salaries.

It's possible that the Hawks will ask for Austin Reaves, which is likely to be a point of contention on the Lakers' side of things. Los Angeles has three first-round draft picks that can be utilized to sweeten the pot, however, and building a backcourt of Murray and Reaves could make it worthwhile to do so.

Acquiring Murray alone may not get the Lakers over the championship hump, but a core four of Murray, Reaves, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James would be as strong as any.

As far as realistic targets are concerned, Murray is equal parts appealing and accessible.

How realistic is the Lakers' pursuit of Trae Young?

In the eyes of many, the home-run target for the Lakers this offseason is Young. This isn't a slight against Murray, but instead an acknowledgement of the otherworldly production that Young has been able to provide throughout his NBA career.

There have been questions as to whether or not Young can coexist with other star-caliber players, but if the gamble is taken by Los Angeles, the talent they'd be getting in return would be unquestioned.

Since 2019-20, his second NBA season, Young has compiled cumulative averages of 27.1 points, 9.9 assists, and 2.8 three-point field goals made per game. He's done so on a slash line of .440/.361/.880, as well as an eFG% of .512.

Young also led the Hawks to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, which was the feather in his cap that secured a five-year, near $215.2 million contract.

Young is entering the third season of that five-year deal, with an early termination option in place for 2026-27. Matching the $43,031,940 that he's owed in 2024-25 would be an exceptional challenge that would likely require the Lakers to give up Hachimura and Reeves—and still leave just over $13 million of salary to ship out.

Attaching D'Angelo Russell to that package would work, but it would also require him to accept his player option—hardly a guarantee.

Even still, the Lakers would likely need to attach draft compensation to get a deal for Young done. In other words: Los Angeles would be parting ways with two-to-three starters and multiple draft picks, albeit for one of the most productive point guards in the NBA.

It's a realistic possibility as the Lakers look to make a splash with the Davis and James window closing, but it's also an extraordinary price to pay on a gamble of a move.

In terms of realistic expectations, Murray is a more responsible target that would leave the Lakers with more options to pursue additional help. Young, however, is the swing-for-the-fences option that Rob Pelinka is likely to prioritize.