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Rumor: Spurs on verge of trading Dejounte Murray to Hawks for picks, not John Collins

Dejounte Murray and Trae Young in San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 11: Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs drives the ball past Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of a game at State Farm Arena on February 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images)

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The Spurs might still trade Dejounte Murray to the Hawks – but with Danilo Gallinari, not John Collins as matching salary.

Zach Klein of WSB-TV Atlanta:

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report:

By using Gallinari rather than Collins in the trade, San Antonio would limit its long-term expense. Collins has four years, $102 million remaining on his contract.

Gallinari is on an expiring contract with just $5 million of $21.45 million salary guaranteed until tomorrow, when the final year of his contract would become fully guaranteed. To trade him straight up for Murray, Atlanta would have to guarantee at least $11,571,120. The Spurs would then likely waive Gallinari.

Obviously, Gallinari isn’t nearly as good as Collins. But the Spurs would be diving more deeply into rebuilding if trading Murray. The draft picks would be the main return with Gallinari as merely the conduit. The Hawks have all their own future first-round picks plus a Hornets first-rounder (top-16 protected in 2023, lottery-protected in 2024 and 2025 then two second-rounders).

It will likely require a haul of picks.

Murray is a 25-year-old All-Star. Though he made it only as an injury replacement and because the NBA still splits All-Star selections by conference even though All-Star teams are no longer divided that way, All-Star status usually drives up a player’s price.

Plus, Murray would fit nicely in Atlanta. The guard’s defense would be beyond welcome, and his playmaking could unlock Trae Young’s off-ball ability.

Murray is due just $34,285,120 over the next two years. With San Antonio having cap space this summer, he might seek a renegotiation-and-extension – which could cause the Spurs to trade him if they don’t value him that highly. However, he’d be locked into that relatively cheap salary with the Hawks, who – as an over-the-cap team – wouldn’t be allowed to renegotiate his deal. Even if Murray wanted an extension, the largest-allowable extension without a renegotiation would be a bargain.

Simply, it’s easy to see how Murray might be more valuable to the Hawks than to the Spurs – which makes conditions ripe for a trade.

As for Collins, still watch for him to get dealt this summer, even if not to San Antonio.