In January, D’Angelo Russell’s stellar performance has left the Los Angeles Lakers in a tricky situation regarding their trade pursuits. Despite the uncertainty, Dejounte Murray, an All-Star caliber guard, emerges as the Lakers’ top trade target.
Murray brings exceptional defensive skills, playmaking ability, scoring prowess, and a knack for clutch moments, demonstrated by two game-winning shots within three days last week. The connection between the Lakers and Murray has been in the rumor mill for 2-3 weeks, but complications have arisen from both sides.
D’Angelo Russell’s sudden surge in performance, averaging 27.6 points and nearly 7 assists per game in the last five matches, along with an impressive 55% 3PT shooting, has caused the Lakers to reconsider the potential trade. Despite discussions of trading D’Lo for Murray along with a draft pick, Russell’s excellent form has forced the Lakers’ leadership to reassess the situation.
The Atlanta Hawks, Murray’s current team, is hesitant to acquire D’Angelo Russell due to position overlap with Trae Young, their star player. This hurdle has led the Lakers to seek a third-party partner to facilitate the trade. According to trade expert Marc Stein, negotiations between the Lakers and Hawks have hit a standstill.
As the NBA Trade Deadline approaches, discussions around the Murray trade have shown minimal progress. Stein suggests that the likelihood of Murray joining the Lakers by Monday, January 29th (Vietnam time), is becoming increasingly improbable.
Experts argue that in terms of defense and facilitating play, Dejounte Murray would be an upgrade over D’Angelo Russell for the Lakers. However, the additional requirement of a first-round pick and the challenge of finding a third-party partner to take on Russell’s contract have made the Lakers less enthusiastic about the deal, unlike a few weeks ago.
In case the Lakers decide against acquiring Dejounte, they may shift their focus to alternative targets, possibly a reliable bench player or a three-and-D specialist. The NBA Trade Deadline for the 2023-24 season is set for 12:00 PM on February 9th (Vietnam time), prompting the Lakers to continue exploring the market for suitable additions before the deadline.