How the Orlando Magic can rescue Dejounte Murray
The Magic desperately need a point guard and shooting, and the Hawks could provide them with all of that in one trade. Dejounte Murray would be the best point guard the Magic have employed since Penny Hardaway, which is a nice way of saying the Magic have been in the point guard wilderness since the 90s.
With Murray at the commands, Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner’s creation burdens will be lessened, and they could build a devastating offense that mercilessly hunts mismatches. While Murray doesn’t have a reputation as a floor spacer, he has simultaneously increased his 3-point volume and his efficiency in each of the past three seasons and is sporting a career-best efficiency of 38.3 percent on a career-high of 6.1 attempts per game this season.
If you’re the Magic, why stop at just Murray when Bogdan Bogdanovic is sitting right there? Bogdanovic is a career 38.5 percent 3-point shooter on significant volume (career 8.1 attempts per 36 minutes) and can credibly create offense for himself and others. In many respects, he’s the perfect modern sixth man, as he can run a second-unit offense and still slide over to an off-ball role with the starters.
For the Magic, what should make both Murray and Bogdanovic so appealing, outside of their obvious on-court abilities, is they’re locked into long-term deals. Bogdanovic has a team option for $16 million for 2026-27, and Murray has a player option for $31.6 million in 2027-28. The Magic can lock up their core for close to the next half-decade with this move, and what a core it would be.
For parting with two very good players, the Hawks would secure Orlando’s 2024 and 2026 first-round picks, Denver’s 2025 first, and Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz. The Hawks may not view that draft haul as being enough to justify moving both, but it would save them a tremendous amount of money.
After this season, the Hawks owe Murray and Bogdanovic a combined $163.5 million if all options are exercised. Fultz, on the other hand, is on an expiring contract, and Isaac only has one non-guaranteed year left on his deal. If the Hawks were to cut Isaac, they could save $163.5 million over the next four seasons, but even if they keep him around for one more year at $17.4 million, that’s still a ton of financial flexibility.
Isaac is also not just a throw-in. His injury history is a real concern, but the Magic have used him as a short-spurt elite defensive chess piece to great effect this season. With Isaac on the court, the Magic have a plus-14.95 net rating and a defensive rating of 102.2, but when he sits, their net rating tumbles to minus-2.2, and their defensive rating rises to 115.2. Those on-off splits are simply ridiculous, and the Magic’s fourth-ranked defensive rating of 112.1 is basically thanks to the 423 minutes Isaac has played this season. The Hawks desperately need defense, and deploying Isaac 20 minutes a game could help them tremendously on that end.