Spurs Acquired Various Draft Assets for Murray to Hawks, While Harden Opt-Out, Re-Sign With Philadelphia 76ERS on Free-Agent

Jul 1, 2022

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The Spurs pushed their rebuild into full swing Wednesday, trading All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Hawks for forward Danilo Gallinari and a trio of first round picks, according to multiple reports.

Hawks receive Dejounte Murray while, Spurs receive Danilo Gallinari, 2023 first round-pick (via Charlotte, protected), 2025 first-round pick, 2026 pick swap, 2027 first-round pick.

Murray, 25, was drafted by the Spurs in 2016 as the 29th pick and played five seasons in San Antonio, missing the 2018-19 season due to a torn ACL. Last season, the 6-foot-4 point guard started in 68 games, averaging 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 9.2 assists.

The Spurs will get Gallinari, who spent four years playing professionally in Italy before being selected sixth in the 2008 draft by the New York Knicks. The 6-10 power forward played with the Knicks from 2008-11 before being traded to the Nuggets. He also had a brief stint with the Clippers from 2017-19 and played in Oklahoma City during the 2019-20 season. In Atlanta last season, Gallinari played in 66 games with 18 starts, averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

On the other hand, Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has decided to opt out of his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season in order to return to the franchise on a free-agent contract that gives the team financial flexibility to bolster the roster.

Harden made the decision in recent weeks and communicated a clear goal to 76ers officials: winning a championship in Philadelphia next season. Harden opting out and taking less opens up a path for the 76ers to make legitimate upgrades for their roster for the upcoming season, beginning Thursday night when the free-agency period opens.

Lowering Harden’s salary from $47.4 million allows 76ers president Daryl Morey to offer free agents the $10.5 million non-taxpayer mid level exception without any other moves, flexibility Morey would have had difficulty creating by trading players already on guaranteed contracts.

The 76ers acquired Harden in a blockbuster trade deadline deal with the Brooklyn Nets and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals before a series loss to the Miami Heat. Harden’s co-star, MVP candidate Joel Embiid, missed the first two games of the 76ers’ defeat to the Heat in six games. Harden, 32, is coming off his 10th All-Star team in 13 seasons, averaging 22 points, 10.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game in the 2021-22 campaign.

In 12 playoff games, Harden’s averages dipped to 18.6 points, 8.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds. Across the 76ers and Harden’s camp, there has been tremendous belief around the seven-time All-NBA star having a complete and healthy offseason this summer ahead of the 2022-23 season. In the 2020 offseason, the NBA had a shortened summer due to the bubble season. Last year, Harden was recovering from a Grade 2 hamstring injury that he played through during Brooklyn’s seven-game series against Milwaukee in the second round.

Multiple sources said Harden resumed his workout and on-court regimen much sooner than usual this offseason, and has been ramping up his conditioning and training as the summer progresses. Typically, NBA players take time off before entering their offseason schedule, but Harden returned to his training just two weeks after the season ended on May 12. 76ers assistant Sam Cassell has spent extensive time running Harden’s regimen this summer.

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