It feels like a yearly occurrence for the Los Angeles Lakers to be linked to a high-profile potential trade candidate, and this especially stands true ahead of the NBA trade deadline.
As we approach this season’s Feb. 8 deadline for teams to make deals, the Lakers have once again been at the center of the ever-swirling trade rumor mill. But the latest link to Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray seems to be continuously picking up steam.
Murray, 27, remains the name to watch for the Lakers in terms of top targets. But while numerous teams have been mentioned as having interest, Los Angeles is believed to “have engaged in the most substantive trade discussions with Atlanta on Murray,” according to Marc Stein of The Stein Line.
Unfortunately, one or two big asterisks are in the way of a potential deal to bring Murray to the Lakers. First, the Lakers have reportedly made Austin Reaves “off-limits” in talks, and all signals point to the team having little interest in moving him in any deal.
To top it off, the Hawks don’t want the player who was expected to be a key piece in a hypothetical deadline deal, D’Angelo Russell. Atlanta would only agree to a deal involving Russell if it featured a third team to acquire the guard, according to Stein’s report.
Whether or not that’s realistic, or something that’s even been discussed, could prove pivotal in the team’s pursuit of Murray. But the good news for the Lakers, if they were pursuing that option, is that Russell has been playing exceptionally well of late.
The 27-year-old has averaged 22.4 points and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 52.7% from the field in January. His scoring has more than doubled from the 10.2 points he averaged last month and is up significantly even before that, as he tallied 17.5 and 17.6 points in November and December.
However, Murray’s trade value is likely at an all-time high, as the Hawks guard has put together one of his best seasons from a scoring perspective to this point in his career. He’s averaged 21.1 points, tying a personal best for a single season, while shooting a career-high 47.1% from the field and 38.2% from three-point range.