If you’ve paid attention to the Nets over the past five weeks, you know the status quo isn’t working. They’ve lost 15 of their last 19 games. Their last loss was brutal. They had an 18-point lead late in the third quarter against the Clippers, but they were outscored 39-10 the rest of the way in a crushing road loss.
If they want to turn the season around, they probably need to make a move at the deadline.
Murray is under contract through 2026-27. The Hawks do not have to trade Murray by the Feb. 8 deadline. They can revisit discussions in the offseason. As of last week, teams in touch with the Hawks believed they were going to stick to a certain price point on a Murray trade and were prepared to keep the 27-year-old after the deadline if that price point wasn’t met. The Hawks are seeking at least two first-round picks in a package for Murray, per Marc Stein.
With an assist from capsheets.com’s Yossi Gozlan, here are a few Nets packages for Murray that satisfy NBA trade rules:
Murray has a trade kicker. So his incoming salary for trade purposes is $21.6 million.
Brooklyn would need to include draft compensation to acquire Murray. The club has four unprotected first-round picks from other teams, a first-rounder from Philadelphia that is top-8 protected and a first-round pick swap with Phoenix -- Brooklyn also owes Houston two unprotected first-rounders and two first-round pick swaps.
For the purposes of this exercise, we are taking Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges off the table. If the Nets wanted to trade for Murray without moving Dinwiddie, the salaries of Royce O'Neale and Cam Thomas would get them close to matching Murray’s deal. The Nets would need to still send out an additional $2.3 million, which could be accomplished by adding 2023 first-round pick Dariq Whitehead or two minimum players such as Harry Giles, Trendon Watford, Lonnie Walker or Dennis Smith Jr.
Given the dynamics at play, it’s hard to see Brooklyn including these players in a package to acquire Murray.
Something else to consider when you think about the Nets and Murray: Brooklyn would presumably want to avoid the luxury tax in 2024-25. If the Nets acquire Murray and re-sign Nic Claxton, it would be difficult to stay below the tax line with the current salary commitments.