Nets eyeing Hawks’ Dejounte Murray to fix point-guard issue

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS



The Nets have a problem at the point.

Fixing it may determine when, or if, they right their listing season.

Fixing it externally with Atlanta guard Dejounte Murray would be costly, but Brooklyn appears interested.

And though there might not yet be fire with all that smoke, there are at least a couple of sparks.

Sorting it out internally? Cheaper, but harder — if not downright impossible.

Injury-riddled Ben Simmons has made just 39 appearances out of a possible 146 regular-season games since joining the Nets in February 2022, none since Nov. 6.

Spencer Dinwiddie, starting in his absence, has gone into an extended funk.

Nets eyeing the Hawks’ Dejounte Murry as a fix for their point-guard woes. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Dennis Smith Jr. is an offensively limited backup.

In short, Brooklyn has issues, having dropped 13 of their previous 16 coming heading out on a three-game West Coast road trek, which began at Portland on Wednesday night.

But among the most glaring of those woes are at the lead guard spot.

The Nets are in desperate need of a point guard, one who can score, attack downhill and create shots for others. Murray fits that bill. And, at 27, also their timeline.

He’s averaging 20.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds for the Hawks — who gave up three first-round picks, a pick swap and Danilo Gallinari to get him, then handed him a four-year, $114 million extension that kicks in next season.

More to the point, Murray was even better playing on the ball in San Antonio, before being shunted off the ball by Trae Young’s presence in Atlanta.

Murray’s only All-Star berth came excelling at the point two years ago — averaging 21.1 points, 9.2 assists (fourth in the NBA), 8.3 boards and a league-high 2.0 steals for the Spurs, the organization Nets GM Sean Marks came from.

Whether Brooklyn’s solutions come internally or externally, the Nets need to find them. Much of what they planned to do this season was predicated on having Simmons, and having him healthy. They’ve rarely had the first and never seen the latter.

Injury-riddled Ben Simmons hasn’t played for the Nets since Nov. 6. Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

Simmons has progressed to doing two-on-two and three-on-three work, and he made the trip to Portland.

A source said Simmons was “making good progress.” It remains to be seen if that means suiting up when the Nets return home to face the rival Knicks next week or if that’s overly ambitious.

Either way, it’s dangerous to count on Simmons being the cure to what ails them.

Through the early stages of the season, Dinwiddie appeared to be the answer — at least the short-term one, if not the long-term one.

Brooklyn’s solid 13-10 start seems like ages ago, a foggy memory. Dinwiddie played all but one of those games — averaging 14.7 points, four assists, 40.1 percent shooting (33.6 from 3-point range) and a plus-4.1.

Spencer Dinwiddie has struggled since taking over at point guard for the injured Ben Simmons. Getty Images

That kind of form seems like a distant memory as well.

In his previous seven games, Dinwiddie has averaged just 8.1 points, four assists, 33.3/25.0 shooting and an eye-watering minus-12.9.

At 30-years-old, Dinwiddie is the eldest player on Brooklyn’s roster, and the one viewed as most likely to be moved before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. Sources told The Post that teams engaged the Nets on Dinwiddie last season, and SNY reported the Hawks touched base earlier this season.

Dinwiddie has lost playing time to Smith, cracking 30 minutes only once so far in 2024. He was benched in crunch time for the defensive-minded backup Jan. 7 against Portland and again Jan. 15 in a loss to the Heat.

“Just ask you to make the right play. But it’ll always be performance-based, and even more so now,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We’re gonna put guys out there who are gonna perform. It’s going to make tough decisions on me to finish the game. Hopefully that encourages our guys to be ready to go at the beginning of the game and play four quarters.”

Murray has been linked with the Lakers, Knicks, Spurs, Warriors and others. The Hawks are seeking two first-round picks and an expiring deal, with Dinwiddie on an expiring $18.9 million contract ($20.4 million cap hit). Murray makes $17.7 million (with $500,000 in incentives) before his extension kicks in.

Despite the league’s biggest trade kicker ($13.5 million), Murray could be just the trade to kick start Brooklyn’s offense.



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