Don't get me wrong here--I want to see Dejounte Murray succeed just as much as anybody else, but San Antonio Spurs fans need to begin paying close attention to what's going on within the Atlanta Hawks organization.
In case you haven't been keeping up, let me get you up to speed. Yesterday afternoon, the Athletic's Shams Charania came out with a report indicating that the Hawks' Trae Young and head coach Nate McMillan had an "exchange" at their shootaround this past Friday. This reported exchange led to Young choosing not to attend their home game that same day against the Denver Nuggets.
The Hawks have begun their season with a 13-10 record--good for 4th place in the East--but have been managing "simmering issues," according to Charania. The latest conflict this past Friday reportedly arose from Young managing a shoulder injury and choosing not to participate in the shootaround. Because he wouldn't participate, and instead opted to focus on treatment for his shoulder, McMillan felt it necessary to give Young a choice between coming off the bench or not participating in the game at all. Young chose the latter.
This may not be some random occurrence, however, as the Hawks have supposedly been dealing with this tension for a while now and have had multiple team meetings toward the beginning of the season to resolve team conflicts. While McMillan's job is reportedly safe for now, this could be the start of some serious trouble in Atlanta.
The Dejounte Murray trade can only get better for the Spurs
If you're wondering where the Spurs fit in this equation, it starts and ends with Dejounte Murray. The package of picks that the team received may not pay dividends for a while, particularly considering how poorly the Charlotte Hornets are playing right now. Unless they make a late playoff push when everyone is fully healthy, it looks as if the Hornets will retain their 1st round pick instead of it going to the Spurs.
But what's more pertinent to the situation at hand here and could be far more valuable are the picks coming from Atlanta themselves, including two unprotected 1st round picks (in 2025 and 2027) and a 1st round pick swap in 2026. This brewing drama could be the start of the Hawks unraveling at the seams. It's worth remembering that head coach Nate McMillan is now the second head coach to have reported tensions with Trae Young, bringing the young star's leadership and teamsmanship into question.
It's also worth noting that the Hawks are in a precarious financial situation moving forward. The team is now locked into a 4-year, $95 million contract with Deandre Hunter, and all of Dejounte Murray, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Onyeka Okongwu will be going into unrestricted free agency after the end of the 2023-'24 season unless they're extended. Simply put, things can very easily go wrong for the Hawks over the next couple of seasons. They are shelling out a lot of money and yet they may not have the personnel necessary to compete for a championship.
So what should Spurs fans be on the lookout for? To start, pay very close attention to Trae Young's satisfaction with the Hawks organization, as at any point he could seek a trade if he's unpleased. But fans should also pay attention to Nate McMillan's job security, Dejounte Murray's asking price in extension/free-agency talks, and the Hawks' depth. If any or several of these factors turn South in Atlanta, the Spurs could end up with a massive payout in future drafts.