With just two and a half weeks to go until the Feb. 8 trade deadline and the Toronto Raptors already pulling off multiple blockbusters, the torrid flow of NBA trade rumors is showing no signs of slowing down.
Here is an update on some of the latest reporting around names who could be moved, as of Monday, Jan. 22.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on the “Run it Back” video show that the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks had “some pretty extensive conversations about a trade a couple of weeks ago, centered around D’Angelo Russell, a 2029 first-round draft pick and a pick swap” for Murray, but that the Hawks didn’t want Russell due to him having a player option for $18.7 million next season due to the belief that they could potentially get a player with an expiring salary instead.
However, Charania added that he expects the two sides to pick up talks in the next few weeks.
And the Lakers aren’t the only team interested in Murray. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT tweeted over the weekend that the Milwaukee Bucks had been “registering interest in trading for” the Hawks guard, and on the latest episode of his “#thisleague UNCUT” podcast, he predicted that Murray would be on the move before the deadline.
One team he is unlikely to be joining, as of this juncture? Our own Paul Hudrick of Liberty Ballers reports that the Sixers are so far only tepidly interested in the idea of pairing Murray and Tyrese Maxey together in their backcourt:
Told by a source the Sixers aren’t in on Dejounte Murray at the moment. Also told the Raptors are looking for a haul for Bruce Brown, who’s been a popular name with Sixers Twitter. Guess is things will heat up closer to Feb. 8.
— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) January 21, 2024
Despite the Hawks seemingly trying to push Murray out the door, they still have a price in mind, which Haynes’ co-host and veteran NBA insider Marc Stein reported in his Monday Substack dispatch that is “at least two future first-round picks.”
That’s a somewhat hefty ask, but given the amount of Murray noise so far, it’s still hard to disagree with Haynes’ prediction. Whether he’s a Laker, Buck or a member of some other team is unknown for now, but perhaps the biggest surprise of the deadline would be Murray still being a Hawk by the end of the day on Feb. 8.
As the aforementioned Raptors look to increase the size of their Pascal Siakam trade haul, all signs are pointing towards them looking to move the newly acquired Bruce Brown (who can be traded again under league rules, but cannot be aggregated into a larger deal with other Raptors players).
On the same episode of “#thisleague UNCUT” mentioned above, Haynes said that the Raptors were receiving an “abnormal” amount of calls on Brown and that he would be “surprised” if he stays and that Toronto will “have no problem getting what they want in return” for him, which Stein reported earlier in the episode was “at least a first-round pick and a quality player.”
In his Substack dispatch on Sunday, Stein wrote that the Lakers and New York Knicks were among the teams pursuing him:
The Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, two teams known to have coveted Brown last summer before Indiana used a considerable chunk of salary-cap space to win the race for Brown’s signature, have been frequently mentioned as likely suitors since Toronto acquired the 6-foot-4 swingman as a centerpiece of the Pascal Siakam trade. There are bound to be more.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN also linked the Knicks to Brown:
.@wojespn on the Knicks’ plans heading into the trade deadline:
– Targeting scoring help off their bench with Jordan Clarkson, Bruce Brown and Alec Burks as their top targets.
– New York is dangling Evan Fournier’s expiring contract alongside a draft pick to get a rotation… pic.twitter.com/bRlYzwhaBp
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) January 22, 2024
The Sixers, however, as suggested by Hudrick’s tweet above and directly reported by Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, are not one of those teams as of yet:
Despite speculation and rumors, it’s unlikely that the Sixers will pursue Toronto Raptors new swingman Bruce Brown before the NBA trade deadline, according to league sources.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) January 19, 2024
Either way, while Brown has made it clear that he’s not demanding the Raptors trade him — which would cause the league to fine him, it should be noted — he certainly let fly some Knicks flirtations when in New York over the weekend, as caught by our own Antonio Losada of Posting and Toasting:
Brown himself told media members ahead of last Saturday’s game against the Knicks that he thinks he is “the type of player that Thibs likes,” a “dog,” and he revealed “Every time we play Thibs, I go up to him and shake his hand, just because of what he’s done. Nothing but respect for Thibs.”
Added Brown: “I love New York. I hated New York before I lived here, but as soon as I moved here I loved it.”
From the Raptors’ side, president Masai Ujiri was asked if more trades will happen between now and Feb. 8, to which he answered “Definitely.”
Brown recently said that he wouldn’t have a problem staying with the Raptors and that he has not requested a trade following his move to Canada as part of the trade package that sent Pascal Siakam to the Pacers.
“I don’t know anything. I’m not requesting anything,” Brown said. ”That’s up to Masai, whatever he wants to do. If he moves me, he moves me. If he doesn’t, I’ll stay. It is what it is.”
The next name on our list is taking a similar approach.
Trail Blazers point guard Malcolm Brogdon has been another hot name on the trade market, but he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he has no problem remaining in Portland:
The most mentally tough guys in the league go through challenges and have to adjust with different teams in different roles while persevering regardless. My goal is to persevere no matter what role I’m put in. At times, it’s been tough, but there’s something very gratifying about coming to a team where your voice and leadership is really valued and you play a different role. I’m embracing that role. I enjoy playing with these young guys. They’re hungry and want to win. They’re incredibly coachable. More than anything, I enjoy being under Chauncey’s wing and being coached by him. I have the most respect for him. He’s a guy I’d run through a wall for.
That’s not stopping a healthy degree of interest in him in percolating, however. Matt Moore of The Action Network wrote over the weekend that “there’s a pretty healthy belief the Blazers will try to move [Brogdon] before the deadline.”
Brogdon has value as an impact player who won 6th Man of the Year last season, but his injury concerns take him off the list for several teams. Nothing else is really expected from the Blazers, with Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe still considered key building blocks.
As for which teams are in on Brogdon so far? Brett Siegel of Clutch Points reports that the “76ers, Magic, Knicks, and Lakers have all talked with the Blazers recently regarding Brogdon.”
Robert Williams III
Robert Williams III wasn’t a name expected to pop up in many trade rumors this season, considering that he’s projected to miss the entire campaign after undergoing knee surgery, but according to Haynes in the latest episode of “#thisleague UNCUT,” some teams are still interested in acquiring him now. He explained why to Stein on the episode, and confirmed that the Blazers would be willing to deal him for the right price.
“Teams feel like he would be somebody they could get on the cheap right now and allow him to continue recovering, continue rehabbing, in the hopes that next season he can blossom back into the Robert Williams that we’ve seen when he was playing at a high level with the Boston Celtics… There are a couple of teams that I’m not quite ready to reveal, but I know there are teams that are pondering trying to make a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers… The Blazers would be very open. If they feel like they could get the right deal in place, they’re open.”
Haynes then, unprompted, went on to mention that Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka was familiar with Williams’ game from their one year together with the Boston Celtics and “remains very fond” of his former center. So while he’s not explicitly reporting the Rockets are interested, they would make sense as both a team looking for an additional big man and who could afford to wait a season.
Williams still has two years and approximately $26 million remaining on his contract after the current campaign, meaning any team trading for him could let him take his time getting back and still have him in uniform for two seasons, health permitting.