The Hawks‘ trade for Dejounte Murray was about finding a backcourt partner who fits well alongside Trae Young, general manager Landry Fields said in an interview with Mark Medina of NBA.com. Atlanta paid a steep price for Murray, sending three first-round picks and a pick swap to San Antonio along with Danilo Gallinari, but Fields believes the deal was worth it to find a possible long-time complement to Young.
Murray and Young have both been primary ball-handlers throughout their careers, so they’ll have to work on blending their offensive games together. Defensively, Murray can take on the toughest matchups and make it more difficult for opponents to exploit Young.
“We bet on the character makeup of Trae and Dejounte,” Fields said. “Both of those guys want to win, and will do what it takes to win. They need that because their roles will be a lot different than they were last year, from both respective teams. As long as they’re able to do what it takes, Coach [Nate McMillan] then comes in and is able to get creative with how they’ll operate. From a front-office standpoint, we’ll determine if we need to inject more here, here or here. Hopefully, all three of those are working at the same time.”
Fields addresses several other topics during the interview, including:
“Justin Holiday gives us more length around the perimeter and an ability to shoot from the perimeter. That opens things up for Trae and Dejounte with an ability to space the floor. That gives room for Clint [Capela] and John [Collins] as they’re working down in the interior. Hopefully, De’Andre [Hunter] continues to take the steps that he needs. With Moe, he’s a guy that plays hard and gives us depth at the four. It’s helpful in that regard. He’s a vet. He’s got great character and we like what he brings to the locker room. He’s not the most outgoing guy, but enough so that we feel there’s an impact there, too.”
John Collins, who has been the subject of frequent trade speculation since re-signing with the Hawks last offseason:
“This isn’t one of those, ‘We have to get off of John.’ That’s absurd. There’s a misinterpretation of that. You always think of the player from that standpoint because he is constantly in talks. You try to make sure with him that we check in and make sure he’s doing all right. It’s something where it’s less about wondering if he’s the long-term fit and it’s more about the fact that he gets called on a lot. The moment those calls come up, people talk. Then all of a sudden, here we are in the media with this thought that John Collins is not wanted by the Hawks.”
The status of McMillan, who reportedly could be on the hot seat if Atlanta gets off to another slow start:
“Coach has been great. After the season, as a staff, [president of basketball operations] Travis [Schlenk] had a chance to sit with him. He was working with him throughout the offseason. It’s his renewed approach to things and his viewpoints. He was leading by taking ownership and responsibility. It was good to see. You need that. I know he’s excited about the group. But he’s also hungry to get back to where we are, too. He’s been here day in and day out in Vegas. He’s been in the gym at our facility. He’s always been there.”