Over the last two days, both Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports and Michael Scotto of Hoopshype, speaking with Bobby Marks of ESPN, have speculated about how Dejounte Murray of the Hawks would be an ideal “fit” for the Nets, but at this point, there’s no indication that the Nets would be interested in the 27-year-guard.
Fischer wrote that some in the NBA believe that Nets should be in the mix for Murray, but he also notes that there’s been “no dialogue” between the Nets and Hawks. and the Nets are not “actively pursuing” Murray.
“Brooklyn has been another potential (Dejounte) Murray destination mentioned by multiple league personnel, as the Nets are seen as an ideal spot from Murray’s side of this dynamic, sources said,” wrote Fischer for Yahoo! Sports. “But Brooklyn and Atlanta haven’t shared significant dialogue to this point, sources But Brooklyn and Atlanta haven’t shared significant dialogue to this point, sources said, and the Nets don’t appear to be actively pursuing Murray at this juncture.”
Now comes Bobby Marks, no relation to Sean Marks, but a former Nets assistant GM who also speaks to the issue of fit. Marks was asked if Murray in the Nets backcourt would work. He too was enthused and even proposed the bones of a possible trade. He told Scotto on the Hoopshype podcast:
“You know where he would be a good fit? Brooklyn. A guard that can score and kind of create for others. I look at this Nets team as one-dimensional. If they’re not making threes, they’re no better than Detroit, San Antonio, and some of the teams at the bottom here. You basically have Mikal Bridges, who’s number three on a really good championship team. He’s your third-best player. Cam Johnson is a nice starter for you. Then what do you have after that? You’ve got a bunch of big wings. You’ve got Nicolas Claxton, who’s going to be a free agent, and you’ve got draft capital.
“What would the cost be (for Murray)? You watched the Portland game the other night, and I think we can say that the writing is on the wall for Spencer Dinwiddie after he was benched in crunch time for Dennis Smith Jr. Does it cost you Dinwiddie and maybe one of the Phoenix picks that maybe you can put some protection on?”
Scotto also reported that the Nets had talks about extending Dinwiddie, but while Brooklyn wanted a one- to two-year deal, Dinwiddie wanted something longer.
Indeed, a Murray-for-Dinwiddie swap of contracts is an easy match. Murray makes $17.7 million this year, with another $500,000 in incentives. Dinwiddie makes $18.9 million with incentives driving it up to a potential, but unlikely $20.4 million. But the difference is that while Dinwiddie is an expiring deal, Murray is about to begin a four-year, $120 million extension starting at $24.8 million next season, meaning the Nets would be making a fulsome commitment on the level of a Cam Johnson. There are other issues, one is the NBA’s largest trade bonus — $13.5 million — which the Hawks would have to pay. That could lead Atlanta to want more assets to compensate for what they would have to pay.
Why do the Hawks want to trade a player they 1) acquired in a big, multi draft pick deal only two years ago and 2) agreed to give such a big contract. Atlanta apparently is looking at a rebuild after years of middling success and Murray could command a nice return. There have also been concerns both in San Antonio and Atlanta that he is not a culture guy. The 6’5” combo guard is averaging 21.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 36 minutes a game on 47/39/81 shooting splits.
Adrian Wojnarowski, also Friday said there are a number of teams interested in Murray, including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Hawks are looking at their options. “The chances of (Dejounte Murray) moving before the deadline are very, very high.”
In other reports, Murray has been linked to the San Antonio Spurs, his first team. Although Murray had harsh words for the Spurs organization on his departure two years ago, their relationship now is good, or good enough for the Spurs to want him back.
Neither Scotto nor Bobby Marks has any public insight on what Sean Marks is planning to do, with Scotto suggesting the Nets have been “too quiet.”
“The Nets have been a little too quiet,” said Scotto. “They’re a team that I would say knows what they are right now. They are open for business and certainly taking calls.”
Of course, most teams are quiet at this point, nearly a month out from the February 8 trade deadline.
However, Scotto said that the Nets are asking for two first round picks, reportedly what they were offered for the 30-year-old by an NBA team, never disclosed, shortly after he was traded to the Nets in Kyrie Irving trade. Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Thursday on his podcast that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in Finney-Smith and noted that Brooklyn has been interested previously in Cleveland big Dean Wade.
“Finney-smith is a great player on an affordable contract,” said Scotto. “He’s a guy who could fit literally on every team, but on a championship contender or high-caliber playoff team, he’d be great. They would want the equivalent of two first-round picks for him, I’m told.”
Similarly, Zach Lowe reported in his latest Lowe Post podcast that the Clippers might be interested in either DFS or Royce O’Neale. “to help stretch the floor, especially after losing Robert Covington and Nicolas Batum in the Harden trade.”
Scotto and Marks also spoke about the Nets big free agency decision: extending Nic Claxton, who some believe will get offers of $20 to $25 million a year. Scotto thinks the Nets and Claxton may be able to work out a deal.
“The Nets also have to pay Nic Claxton,” said Scotto. “They’re making it seem like they’re preparing to pay him. Claxton told me he wants to re-sign in Brooklyn when we did our interview. I have him somewhere in the $20-25 million range.”
Marks agreed with the estimate. “He’s probably at what Poeltl got somewhere around four years, $80 million with Toronto. I like Claxton better than Poeltl.”