MANHATTAN, New York – The Atlanta Hawks face a critical decision ahead of the NBA trade deadline on whether to deal away guard Dejounte Murray, one of the biggest names on the rumor market. Hawks coach Quin Snyder is reportedly urging the front office to keep the former All-Star, per NBA insider Marc Stein.
Acquired from San Antonio last offseason for a package including multiple first-round picks, Murray was expected to pair with Trae Young to form an elite backcourt duo. However, the Hawks have struggled to a disappointing 19-27 record and sit 12th in the Eastern Conference.
With Atlanta’s playoff hopes fading, Murray has emerged as a prime trade chip to bolster the Hawks’ future assets. But coach Snyder apparently believes Murray can still be a key piece on a winning Hawks team and wants the front office to keep him past the deadline.
Snyder’s reported lobbying to retain Murray raises questions about the decision-making power structure within Atlanta’s front office. Snyder was hired in June 2022 after the Hawks had fired general manager Travis Schlenk a month earlier, replacing him with the less experienced Landry Fields.
Typically, high-profile coaches like Snyder are able to negotiate some personnel influence when joining a new team. But it is unclear exactly how much sway Snyder wields over roster moves versus Fields and team ownership.
Complicating matters is the reported growing influence of Tony Ressler’s son Nick, who has taken on an increasingly prominent behind-the-scenes role. With unclear lines of authority, it create confusion over who is ultimately driving the Hawks’ vision.
Snyder likely sees Murray as a perfect fit for his system, a versatile defensive-minded guard who can take playmaking pressure off Young. Together, they have the talent to be an elite backcourt. But does Atlanta’s front office agree? Or do they see trading Murray as the chance to replenish desperately needed draft capital?
The reality is the risky Murray trade last summer has left the Hawks with precious few routes to improve aside from another major shakeup. With no picks until 2027, and potential luxury tax concerns next season, trading Murray may offer the cleanest path forward.
But it would mean admitting failure on the original Murray deal and delaying any chance at contention further into the future. Is Atlanta’s front office willing to essentially punt on the next few seasons to rebuild assets? Or will Snyder’s faith in Murray convince them to stay the course?
Without established leadership and a clear direction, the Hawks seem paralyzed by indecision over their best path forward. The muddled front office structure has left no clear voice to make the final call on Murray and Atlanta’s larger team-building strategy.
Perhaps Snyder pulls rank and gets his wish to keep Murray as a show of authority. Or maybe the front office recognizes their win-now gambit has failed and cannot justify keeping Murray. What is certain is the Hawks cannot afford to side-step a sorely needed change in course.
Whether it is trading Murray or someone else, significant moves before the deadline seem necessary to chart a clearer course. Until the Hawks empower someone to make those tough decisions, they risk languishing as a mediocre lottery team without assets or identity.
Snyder likely sees Murray as an ideal backcourt partner for Trae Young. But Atlanta’s muddled front office structure has created confusion over who is driving decision-making. After general manager Travis Schlenk was fired last year, Landry Fields was hired as a less experienced replacement. Meanwhile, team owner Tony Ressler’s son Nick has gained internal clout.
With unclear leadership and direction, it remains to be seen if Snyder’s faith in Murray will override Atlanta’s need for change. Dealing Murray would mean pivoting the team’s direction just one season after acquiring him.
For both Golden State and Atlanta, the next week will be critical in determining whether shake-ups are coming. The Warriors have a closing title window that may necessitate bold action, while the Hawks require clarity on their team vision. As the trade deadline nears, both franchises face franchise-altering choices.