For someone who supposedly enjoyed his time in San Antonio, Dejounte Murray sure does love to trash his former team. Even though he's going through some tough times in Atlanta right now, the Spurs' former point guard can't seem to help but complain about the organization that drafted him from time to time.
This most recent round of grievance airing is getting more coverage than his childish Instagram comments from the summer because it took place on the popular All The Smoke Podcast, hosted by Matt Barnes and frequent Spurs detractor Stephen Jackson. The whole hour and forty-minute episode covers a lot, but the most relevant parts for Spurs fans came when Murray had things to say about his time in San Antonio.
Dejounte Murray's complaints toward the Spurs are full of contradictions
Criticism of the Spurs aside, the podcast episode is a good listen that pulls back the curtain on Murray's upbringing, his time at the University of Washington and the pre-draft process, and his upcoming contract situation. But the clip that is making the rounds is his unfiltered criticism of the Spurs, Tony Parker, and what he had to go through during his early years in San Antonio.
Murray sounds off in the interview, complaining that the Spurs would have the audacity to bring in another point guard--Nicolás Laprovíttola--when they already had him, Patty Mills, and Tony Parker on the roster. He claims the Spurs thought that his background and what people said about him would ruin their reputation as a model organization. He closes the clip by taking a shot at Parker for not staying in San Antonio after Murray took over as the starter and mentoring him "the way he should have."
Let's break down these critiques one by one. First, how dare the Spurs bring in famed superstar Nico Laprovíttola to add depth and put pressure on Murray leading up to his rookie year, right? Never mind the fact that Laprovíttola would play a grand total of 174 minutes across 18 games for San Antonio that season. Apparently, the mere thought that the Spurs would even entertain bringing him in to put pressure on their young rookie and gauge how he responded still seems to be aggravating Murray today.
Personally, I don't see what's wrong with applying a little pressure to a young guy to see if he sinks or swims. The Spurs put their 1st round pick--a guy they clearly hoped would someday be able to take the reigns from Tony Parker--through a little adversity, or perhaps even rookie hazing, to start his career. Was it necessary? Maybe not. Was it the horrible ordeal that Murray is making it out to be? I find that incredibly hard to believe.
But the portion of Murray's criticism that bothered me more than all else was his baseless, contradictory claim that the Spurs feared his past and background would tarnish the organization's reputation.
""I feel like, they drafted me, but they feel like the stuff that was going around the air of me coming from the hood and dadadada, that I was gon' make it. Entourage 30 people, smoking and drinking, in articles about fighting, just ruining their reputation of what they stand for as the Spurs...ya know I think that's what they thought. But they never said that. ""- Dejounte Murray
To be fair to Murray, he's entitled to his own opinion. If that's how he thinks the Spurs felt about him, then so be it. But it would be doing the Spurs a disservice not to point out that this assumption he's making blatantly contradicts what he's had to say about San Antonio in the past.
In his All-Star debut video, he credits the Spurs for doing exactly the opposite of what he said on this podcast, saying "The Spurs believed in me; I owe them everything. I owe them loyalty, I owe them being a good person, working, getting better each and every year... Because they didn't have to believe in me. They saw through a lot of things that a lot of people didn't see through. They gave me a chance."
His general attitude toward the Spurs also starkly contrasts what he had to say in his Spurs Stories feature, where he referred to the Spurs as his "family" and acknowledged that they gave him the opportunity he needed to get away from "outside stuff" to be successful. He even went as far as to say that the Spurs "saved his life."
The closing dose of immaturity was when Murray criticized Tony Parker for not staying with the Spurs and mentoring him "the way he should have." If you're asking me, that whole bit reeked of entitlement and a "me first" attitude. Parker is going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and because he recognized that his time in San Antonio was coming to an end, he chose to finish his career on his own terms. He didn't owe Murray anything, and he had already helped bring four championships to San Antonio. He was well within his rights as a player and a person to choose where he finished his time in the NBA.
Ultimately, when it came to his thoughts regarding the Spurs, I thought Murray came off as incredibly hypocritical and disingenuous throughout the entire interview. He did have some nice things to say about San Antonio, called out a few veterans who welcomed him to the Spurs, thanked the organization for believing in him and signing him to a $60 million dollar deal even after he tore his ACL, but the predominant tone of the episode was of a young man airing grievances he's clearly been sitting on for a while.
Maybe something changed Murray's view of the Spurs or maybe he was just saying what he felt he needed to say when he was with the team. I'm sure this won't be the last time we hear about his time in San Antonio, but if I ask anything of him, it would be to clear up why his tone has changed so much since departing the Alamo City.