No matter how many reports or rumors surface on social media, the full extent of trade discussions between two teams is never truly known. This has been proven time and time again, and it applies to the Lakers as much as to any other team.
Presently, the player linked most to the Lakers is Dejounte Murray. With the Hawks ready to move on from the Murray-Trae Young backcourt, the suitors have lined up with the Lakers at or near the top of that list.
The two franchises have had discussions on Murray, that much is known. One of the most recent reports about them, though, suggested that talks between the two sides had gone on pause.
But there are signs that seem to indicate a trade might be more imminent than it seems. All of it is a bit circumstantial but put together, it does make a case.
For one, the report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday painted a picture of a trade being a lot closer than it seems. According to Shams, the hold-up in the trade was finding a third team willing to take on Russell’s contract.
The Lakers and Hawks did have some pretty extensive conversations about a trade a couple of weeks ago, centered around D’Angelo Russell, a 2029 first-round draft pick and a pick swap, I’m told. The holdup was that Atlanta wanted to find a third team for D’Angelo Russell he’s got a player option for next season they want to find a spot where they might be able to get an expiring contract back, I would expect the sides to circle back as we get closer to the February trade deadline.
To be clear, this isn’t contradicting the previous report. If anything, it backs it up. But it also certainly makes it seem much more imminent than previous reports.
Shams isn’t the only insider making it seem like it’s close. On his podcast on Monday, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report “strongly” indicated a Murray trade would be happening.
Not much of a surprise but:— Wes (@bloghawk) January 22, 2024
"I feel pretty strongly about Dejounte Murray being moved before the deadline." -Chris Haynes https://t.co/Os8FpfRvUH
Why is this relevant? Well, Haynes had similar wording for Pascal Siakam’s future in Toronto just days before he was eventually dealt to Indiana.
Chris Haynes live on the Bleacher Report App says that he’s heard that Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors “are on the verge of parting ways”— Mavs Film Room (@MavsFilmRoom) January 12, 2024
Says that there’s a high likelihood Siakam is moved by the February 8th trade deadline.
Again, circumstantial, but it’s multiple people pointing to the same thing.
Then, there were the interesting scenes at the end of Sunday’s Lakers game. With the final seconds ticking away, Russell was seen on the bench postgame, maybe being emotional?
Look, I’m of the belief that this isn’t him crying or getting emotional over something as others are. He’s a very stoic, self-aware person who could have just been in the minute. Or, he could have had a hair in his eye to make it look like he was crying.
Truthfully, this is the bit that feels like the biggest reach, but it is out there. And for those who put stock into this, D’Angelo has unfollowed the Lakers on Instagram and, despite the Lakers posting a plethora of highlights and posts about him on their Instagram on Sunday following the big victory, Russell interacted with none of them.
Again, I don’t put much stock into that one because he quote-tweeted the Lakers on Twitter postgame as well.
As I said at the start, this is a lot of circumstantial evidence that could be easily explained away in different contexts. But it could just as easily be the smoke to a fire of a Murray trade being imminent.
For now, we won’t know. But it’s certainly pretty clear an answer is coming soon.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.