As the trade deadline ticks closer and the Lakers continue to hover around .500, the pressure to make a trade continues to grow. And Friday might have signaled the first big step forward for the franchise.
After more or less circling one another for weeks, the Lakers and Hawks have reportedly engaged in trade talks for Dejounte Murray, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
We’re going to file “exchanged some ideas” as a new phrase that is just ambiguous enough to not really know what it means. Effectively, this feels like Atlanta waving the white flag on the Murray-Trae Young backcourt and starting to gauge the interest level in Murray around the league.
Now, the real challenges begin because, based on the reporting in recent weeks, there’s probably a gulf between what the Lakers and Hawks see as fair value in this trade. For Atlanta, reporting from Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report indicated that they would want more than Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura in a trade for Murray.
On the flip side, the Lakers have held Reaves out of trade talks. However, they are reportedly open to the idea of dealing him if they get more value than Murray in a trade with Atlanta.
So, the starting points right now feel pretty far away. Granted, it is mid-January and a lot can happen in negotiations between now and the Feb. 8 deadline.
That being said, the other factor here is the other teams in discussion for Murray. Can a Lakers package beat one from the Sixers or Heat, for example? Feels unlikely if they get into a bidding war, given the Lakers’ lack of picks available and Atlanta’s desire to recoup those they lost initially acquiring Murray.
But if either Miami or Philly land a different player in the coming weeks or don’t value Murray, then things could change again. Right now, it feels like the Lakers aren’t best-positioned to land him, but that certainly doesn’t mean he still couldn’t be a Laker within the next month.
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