It seems safe to say that former San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray was on his best behavior with the team, given how he's acted since being traded. It started almost immediately after he was acquired by the Atlanta Hawks, with his actions during and following a Drew League game where he tried to show up this year's number one overall pick, Paolo Banchero.
Since then, Murray has seemingly shown his true colors, as evident by a recent Atlanta Hawks game. Murray has always had a flashy game, but it wasn't until this season that he began showboating. Murray drained a three in third overall pick Jabari Smith's face before tapping him on the head during a recent game against the Houston Rockets.
Dejounte Murray may be showing his true colors in Atlanta
Aside from the obvious fact that he seemingly hates anyone taken in the top three of this year's draft (watch your back, Chet Holmgren), Murray clearly was trying to show Smith and the Rockets up. The Rockets are one of the worst teams in the NBA, and he apparently expected them to back down; the Rockets, however, did not.
They fought back, literally, and they rallied from 10 down in the fourth quarter to beat Murray and the Hawks. This isn't an isolated incident either, and his antics since joining the Hawks show that the Spurs were smart to trade Murray. Moving a 25-year-old all-star under contract for two more seasons and hadn't asked for a trade is a bold move, but the Spurs may have believed that they couldn't contend with him.
Murray is probably expecting a $200 million contract in the summer of 2024. The Spurs likely couldn't afford to pay him that and stay under the luxury tax going forward, and the Hawks probably won't be able to either. As a result, the team opted to trade him sooner rather than later to maximize the return for him and possibly enter the Victor Wembanyama race.
The San Antonio Spurs appear to have made the smart decision
Getting three first-round picks, a pick swap, and improving their own pick by the subtraction of Murray thus far looks like a smart decision. That's partly because of how he's acted post-trade and partly because of how the Spurs look without him.
While the Spurs are only 6-15 and have the fourth-worst record in the NBA (which could be a good thing in the long run), Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell are both averaging over 20 points per game, which probably would not have happened if Murray had stayed.
Ultimately, perhaps Murray wasn't as much of a culture fit as we all thought, and that may have factored into the team's decision to trade him. Whether it did or it didn't, the Spurs appear to be better off without him, given the assets they received, the improved draft position, and the emergence of Johnson and Vassell.