Why Dejounte Murray is the Ultimate Commerce Goal for the Timberwolves

On Monday’s version of The Lowe Put up, host Zach Lowe float a purely speculative commerce concept, the place the Minnesota Timberwolves would ship D’Angelo Russell and two top-3 protected first spherical picks to the San Antonio Spurs in alternate for Dejounte Murray. Whereas this was simply an concept, the thought course of behind the Wolves and Spurs as commerce companions makes fairly a little bit of sense.

San Antonio has quite a lot of good gamers, Murray included, however they don’t have something resembling “the man”. They do not essentially must tackle a long-term rebuild, however it might additionally make some sense for them to get just a few belongings with the hopes of ultimately discovering their very own Anthony Edwards. Murray continues to be younger, however with an enormous extension on the horizon, the Spurs may resolve to herald a pleasant haul for Murray and decide to constructing in direction of a brighter future. The present iteration of the Spurs doesn’t have a path again to rivalry, making Murray out there may.

Whereas it is unlikely that it is a deal that may undergo, the truth that it was talked about on Lowe’s podcast means that it has both 1) been floated in league circles or 2) is an approximation of worth for each gamers based mostly on some league intel .

If the Wolves may swing a deal to accumulate Murray for D’Lo and two flippantly protected first spherical picks, they need to unequivocally accomplish that.

For one, Murray is a very, actually good participant. He made his first All-Star sport in 2022, placing collectively a formidable 21/8/9 marketing campaign with excellent protection as properly. Murray was a do-it-all participant for the Spurs, and that is what makes him so useful, even more-so on a very good crew. The 21ppg this yr got here on under common effectivity, however a big portion of that needed to do with the truth that, on a foul Spurs crew, Murray was requested to play a job that does not match him.

At his greatest, Murray may very well be a super third-best participant on a very, actually good crew. His field rating numbers his would n’t be as spectacular as his close to triple-double line from this previous season, however a participant who generally is a superb third possibility, whereas being a plus rebounder and passer, together with elite protection is strictly the type of participant that matches with Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Cities.

As hinted at, Murray’s scoring is about fourth on the checklist of on-court causes to commerce for him. This crew desperately wants assist rebounding the basketball, and whereas that historically comes from beefing up the ahead positions, including an enormous guard who assaults the glass is one other method to assist alleviate that problem. It would not harm that Murray has additionally developed into a wonderful passer and playmaker. He’s somebody who thrives in transition, and would match properly in Chris Finch’s offense.

There’s even good motive to consider that Murray would rating extra effectively in a unique function in Minnesota. Whereas working as the primary possibility in San Antonio, Murray settled for a very good quantity of lengthy twos. These would probably be lower to a sure diploma as he performed a bit extra off of somebody like Ant, and he was n’t pressured to be the principle / sole creation hub basically. In conditions the place Murray performed extra off-ball, he shot it at an okay clip. On catch-and-shoot 3s, Murray shot 34.5%. That is not lighting the world on fireplace by any means, however it’s considerably higher than his 28% on pull-up 3s. Leaning a bit extra into the C&S alternatives would naturally result in higher effectivity.

Even except for all of that, probably the most thrilling motive to carry Dejounte Murray to Minneapolis is his protection. He made an All-Protection crew in 2018, and led the league in steals this previous yr. He is 6’4” with a 6’10” wingspan that he really makes use of. He is lengthy as hell, and he’s gentle on his ft. He could make life depressing for guards and wings, and I might think about a return to a aggressive crew would solely unlock extra of the All-Defensive expertise that we have seen up to now.

If the speculated deal have been to be made, are you able to think about a defensive lineup of Patrick Beverley, Dejounte Murray, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels (or Vando), and Karl-Anthony Cities? The Wolves would simply be capable to swap 1-4 in that alignment, and would certainly reside with Cities on the perimeter in lots of conditions as properly. That lineup may wrestle to rebound after all, however it may not matter given what number of turnovers and unhealthy pictures they might drive. Even when the spacing on offense would not be excellent, it might be price sacrificing a bit on offense to throw that sort of protection at groups.

Murray is due for an extension quickly, and it’ll probably be a max or near-max extension, however buying and selling for Murray offers you his Hen Rights in any case. That extension solely finally ends up inhibiting you if Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez refuse to pony up for the luxurious tax. Plus, his present deal is a discount. Dejounte has two years left on his present deal at simply $16M per yr. That’s an absolute discount given the participant he has change into.

Picture by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE by way of Getty Photographs

I perceive some queasiness from Wolves followers about the fee to accumulate him, as D’Lo plus two top-3 protected first rounders is certainly taking an enormous swing, however I believe that’s extra indicative of the state of affairs the Wolves discover themselves in with Russell . This isn’t a free agent vacation spot, the crew will must be aggressive to be able to proceed to improve. Normally, to improve the crew, I usually assume the Wolves must half with a primary spherical choose. Groups hardly ever give away good gamers with out getting one in return.

I might additionally think about that any crew taking over the final yr of Russell’s contract will ask for a primary rounder to try this favor as properly. You’ll be able to quibble over the protections on the picks, however getting All-Star-ish expertise doesn’t come low-cost, particularly when the cash you’re sending out is a unfavorable asset as properly. In brief, buying and selling Russell for an enchancment is prone to take two first spherical picks. That presents a danger, for positive, however it’s a worthwhile one.

Now, the calculus modifications slightly bit if San Antonio holds agency on getting the complete Jrue Vacation bundle, as was reported late final evening. Vacation basically went for 2 first spherical picks and two choose swaps. That provides one other dimension to all of this for positive, however I might even be slightly stunned if San Antonio really bought that huge of a haul, until there’s a crew on the market who’s as determined as Milwaukee was on the time of the Vacation commerce . Backside line, I believe it is a no-brainer on the authentic value. Throwing two choose swaps in as properly would make this an actual all-in sort transfer, and I am unsure that is the place the Wolves are fairly but of their growth arc.

If that is the fee to maneuver D’Lo, I am positive some would argue that the Wolves could be higher off simply holding onto Russell and having him play out the ultimate yr of his deal. On paper that makes some sense (I might nonetheless commerce for Murray in any case), however it fails to keep in mind that these gamers are people. In the event you consider that Russell could be a jolly piece of the locker room whereas enjoying on an expiring contract, after receiving extension affords that he probably would see as disrespectful, I’ve bought some beachfront property I might like to talk to you about. That is not reporting or something near it, however gamers nearly as good as Russell usually don’t take properly to being requested to take a pay-cut or play on an expiring deal.

Russell is totally properly inside his rights to not need to play on an expiring deal, by the best way. That is not a enjoyable state of affairs for anybody, so I do not need this to return off as blaming Russell or calling him a foul teammate by any means. I simply do not know why anybody would assume he’d be joyful to play out the ultimate yr on his deal with none future safety.

On the finish of the day, it’s after all most unlikely that Dejounte Murray results in a Timberwolves jersey. For the entire causes that Minnesota ought to need him, San Antonio certainly does too. It will require a shift in organizational philosophy from a crew that has fairly strongly prevented tanking or rebuilding for some time now. Nonetheless, Murray is a dream match within the backcourt with Ant, and that alone makes this a enjoyable train.

Leave a Comment