With less than 24 hours to go until the NBA trade deadline, we saw a few minor deals go down around the league on Wednesday, with Monte Morris, Xavier Tillman and Simone Fontecchio among those changing teams.
But as of publishing time, some of the biggest names still known to be available at this deadline are still on their incumbent teams. Let’s check in on the latest rumors about where they might go, or if they’ll move at all.
So are the Hawks going to trade Dejounte Murray or not?
One of the most amusing parts of trade season is watching which players get mysteriously held out or listed as questionable for games, with observers wondering if it means a team is sitting them down so they don’t get hurt and mess up a potential deal. We saw a few such seemingly random maladies on Wednesday, with the Lakers keeping D’Angelo Russell out of practice for mysterious, still not-totally-explained reasons and Detroit ruling out Bojan Bogdanovic as questionable for their Deadline Eve matchup with the Kings despite him only missing two of the team’s previous 30 games.
But most suspicious of all had to be the Hawks holding out Dejounte Murray with “lower back tightness” against the Celtics. Now, obviously, it is entirely possible that Murray’s back is actually sore — and for what it’s worth, he was questionable for their prior game and ultimately played — but it’s hard not to be suspicious of the timing of this absence for a player who has been so frequently mentioned as on the trade block.
Is it a sign there is a deal imminent for Murray? Well… maybe not, but the Hawks are still talking about potential trades for him with less than a day before the buzzer, with Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reporting that the Pelicans were the most recent team to discuss a deal for him, even if it sounds like that won’t be where he’s ultimately headed:
The Pelicans and Hawks indeed held tangible trade talks this week, league sources told Yahoo Sports, that included various concepts regarding both of Okongwu and Capela, as well as All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray. However, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the talks, there has been little traction on anything developing between Atlanta and New Orleans.
Also within: There were indeed conversations between New Orleans and Atlanta this week, sources said, but I’ve been told any deal that would bring Dejounte Murray to the Pelicans isn’t particularly close to a finish line. https://t.co/asgJp43HQ0
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 8, 2024
Furthering that report, earlier in the day, veteran insider Marc Stein wrote in his Substack that “there was still no indication leaguewide that the Hawks will be able to secure a trade partner willing to furnish them with the two first-round picks they have consistently sought for Murray.”
And Atlanta does seem to have reached an impasse with the Lakers, by all accounts, with Los Angeles reportedly not expected to make a major move by tomorrow. Additionally, it was interesting to note how many insiders brought up on Tuesday podcasts that the Hawks had recently had John Collins on the trade block for years before dealing him
for basically nothing, and how that indicates they clearly might be comfortable doing the same with Murray. Almost as if it was a narrative Atlanta was trying to sell publicly…
We’ll see if someone swoops in here at the last minute or Atlanta lowers their ask, but for now, it looks like Murray very realistically could remain a Hawk until at least this summer if broken-down talks with the Pelicans were the most current slop that could be ginned up on their activity.
Bruce Brown to the… Jazz?
Well, this one was unexpected, but in the same column cited above, Fischer reported that the Utah Jazz were the latest team to register interest in current-but-probably-not-for-long Raptors guard Bruce Brown:
There’s another team to consider as a strong possibility for Brown. The Jazz, according to league sources, have discussed a framework with the Raptors that would bring Brown to Utah in return for Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji. What draft capital could be part of that conversation remains to be seen, but Toronto has been consistent with its messaging to rival teams that it is looking for a first-round pick for Brown, sources said.
We’ve got a new team to monitor for Bruce Brown Jr. Utah and Toronto have discussed a deal for Brown, league sources told @YahooSports, and more trade deadline notes following today’s action thus far: https://t.co/hD9MBwPvTE
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 8, 2024
For what it’s worth, Tony Jones (the Jazz reporter for The Athletic) pushed back on Fischer’s report shortly afterward:
But if this is happening, it still raises some questions. Olynyk does make some degree of sense in Toronto as a floor-spacer for Scottie Barnes, but could this end up being a multi-team deal where Olynyk then gets rerouted again to get Toronto even more draft capital? Is Danny Ainge just getting involved to try and screw with his old foes in Los Angeles and New York and make sure they have to fully pay up for Brown? Does Brown even make much sense in guard-heavy Utah?
All of these answers are currently unknowable, but at the very least conflicting reports are a much-needed crumb of drama in what has thus far been a boring deadline week, so we can thank Trader Danny for that regardless.
Is Andrew Wiggins going to get traded?
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Warriors had received interest in Andrew Wiggins from the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, but that without ownership in Golden State issuing a clear mandate to cut salary, it wasn’t clear if he’d get moved or not.
Noise on the 2022 NBA champion has been mostly silent since then… until Wednesday, when Marc Stein reported that “the Warriors, league sources say, are expected to explore their Andrew Wiggins trade options right up to the deadline.”
He detailed some of the calculus going into that decision for them in his latest Substack column:
Far less clear: Can they find a trade opportunity more palatable than just keeping Wiggins? The best course for Golden State, with Wiggins in Year 1 of a new four-year, $109 million contract and well short of peak value after struggling for the past season and a half, might prove to be trying to build off some hopeful signs recently that he is finding some form in a frontcourt trio alongside Draymond Green and the emerging Jonathan Kuminga.
I shared in the enclosed link Tuesday that the Mavericks’ reported trade interest in Wiggins has been overstated. Later Tuesday, after publishing that story, I was told the same about Milwaukee’s reported interest in Wiggins.
But the Warriors can insist all they want that they don’t have any mandate to trim payroll just for payroll’s sake. However, until they don’t actually don’t do so, it’s fair to be skeptical that they won’t just move off of Wiggins if they can do so without attaching draft picks, given how disappointing his season has largely been and how much more it would cost them to keep him as a second apron team than it would for some of those potential suitors.
(Golden State is currently more than $25 million in salary above the second apron, meaning that not only do they have a hellacious tax bill coming, but they also “won’t have a mid-level exception, can’t aggregate contracts in trades, can’t trade a first-round pick that’s seven years in the future and can’t acquire contracts when they sign-and-trade their own free agents elsewhere, among other things.” So there are compelling basketball, and not just budgetary, reasons for them to trim payroll while sitting at 22-25 and 11th place in the West.)
We’ll know soon enough what they (and everyone else will do), because thankfully, there are just under 24 hours until we know for sure which of these deals — or any others — will get done when the final buzzer for deals sounds tomorrow, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. ET.