The 25-year-old averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists and earned his first trip to the NBA All-Star Game.
He has also emerged as something of a defensive standout, putting up a league-leading 2.0 steals per game this year.
However, the Spurs are reportedly looking to trade Murray.
BREAKING: “Multiple sources throughout the NBA” believe the Atlanta Hawks are on the verge of trading for the Spurs’ Dejounte Murray.
The trade package reportedly includes Danilo Gallinari and multiple 1st-round picks, reports @ZachKleinWSB.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 27, 2022
The team has missed the playoffs three years in a row after making it there in each of the previous 22 seasons.
Why in the world are the Spurs trying to move Murray, and how in the world does it make sense?
Murray May Be The Only Spurs Player With Real Promise
Throughout the Duncan era, the Spurs somehow found a way to rebuild or retool on the fly while remaining competitive, if not title contenders.
But now, they have been forced to start from scratch.
They took Murray with the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and after coming on slowly in his first few years, which included missing a whole campaign due to a torn ACL, Murray started to show he had real potential.
He may not be a deep-ball threat (he made just 32.7 percent of his 3-point attempts in 2022), but he can do a lot of the other things that stars are supposed to do.
Murray played particularly well after the calendar turned over into the new year, putting up 23.9 points a game while maintaining his assists and rebounds from January 5 onward.
He is a quick, explosive and exciting player, and he looks like the type of man the Spurs can and should build around.
Dejounte Murray’s career progression has been so elite.
(PTS – REB – AST – STL)
Year 1: 3.4 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 0.2
Year 2: 8.1 – 5.7 – 2.9 – 1.2
Year 3: DNP – Torn ACL
Year 4: 10.9 – 5.8 – 4.1 – 1.7
Year 5: 15.7 – 7.1 – 5.4 – 1.5
Year 6: 21.1 – 8.3 – 9.2 – 2.0
Still 25 years old 📈 pic.twitter.com/XilTxv7Ugl
— Hilltop Hoops (@HilltopNBA) June 26, 2022
Players like him don’t exactly grow on trees, just like how the next Duncan, Parker, Leonard or Manu Ginobili won’t be easy to find.
Spurs head coach and president Gregg Popovich is 73 years of age, and he is rumored to be nearing retirement.
Why would he want to sit around for a long rebuilding process at his age?
Trading Murray would set the Spurs back at least a few years in that process, but apparently, they don’t see it that way.
The Real Reason The Spurs May Trade Him
Reportedly, San Antonio wants to jettison Murray as part of their pursuit of Victor Wembanyama, a French player who is 18 years old and is considered a hot prospect.
If the Spurs trade Dejounte Murray, they could be the first team signaling their intentions for the epic tank race for Victor Wembanyama.
Ironically enough, Spurs legend Tony Parker owns ASVEL, which is the team Wembanyama plays for.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 27, 2022
Wembanyama is 7-foot-2, and his elite length allows him to protect the rim, block shots, and finish strong at a high level.
He is also thought to have potential as a low-post threat and even as a perimeter shooter.
As a result, Wembanyama is considered the favorite to become the top pick in next summer’s NBA Draft.
Apparently, the Spurs want to tank and be terrible next season so that they can perhaps draft him.
Spurs apologists will say that it worked in the 1996-97 season, when David Robinson missed most of the season with an injury and the team won the top pick in the lottery, which it used on Duncan.
But there is a big difference between tanking due to a catastrophic injury versus tanking voluntary by trading a player such as Murray.
It is a huge gamble that more likely than not will fail to yield the team the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, and besides, it is cheating the Spurs’ loyal fan base out of a season in which the team could potentially return to the playoffs.