According to senior NBA insider Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report, the New Orleans Pelicans are a darkhorse trade destination for Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (h/t NBA Central).

NBA Rumors: Darkhorse Trade Destination Emerges For Dejounte Murray

Dejounte Murray’s secret admirer?

Murray has arguably been the hottest name on the market with teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, and previously the Miami Heat tied to the seven-year NBA veteran. The Pelicans make sense for Murray as a hypothetical landing spot as well.

New Orleans has been looking for point guard help since trading Lonzo Ball prior to the 2021-22 season. Though not the defender nor facilitator that Ball was for the Pelicans, Murray’s length, athleticism, and upside as a two-way playmaker should be enticing.

Having scored at least 20 points per game over the past three seasons, Murray would also take a lot of pressure off of CJ McCollum in the backcourt.

It’s difficult to see a feasible trade between these two teams that wouldn’t involve one of Herb Jones or Trey Murphy III though.

With both multipositional wings, the Pelicans will be faced with a tough decision. In one corner, you have Jones. Jones is a premier perimeter defender that’s developing into a respectable outside threat. In the other corner, you have Murphy, or “TM3.” Murphy is an elite 3-point shooter and noteworthy defender.

With New Orleans’ bevy of on-ball scorers, Murphy may be their choice. When considering Murphy’s relationship with Pelicans vice president Swin Cash and his contract status, this appears even more likely. While Jones recently re-signed with New Orleans on an affordable four-year, $53.8 deal, Murphy is still on his rookie contract through next season.

So, here’s the trade:

Hawks receive — Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado, 2024 first-round pick

Pelicans receive — Dejounte Murray, AJ Griffin

What it means for the Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks defense is ranked 29th in the NBA in opponent’s points per game (123.9) and 28th in defensive rating (121.2). Numbers backing up the eye test, the Hawks are clearly in need of effective on-ball defenders. In Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado, Atlanta gets two of the league’s best.

Jones, at 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, is capable of guarding up and down the lineup. Using his length, effort, hands, and anticipation, the former second-round pick terrorizes opposing perimeter players, generating steals that lead to fastbreak opportunities. Jones is also a valuable defender in transition as well.

However, what makes him even more of a viable option for the Hawks is his 3-point shooting.

Jones only shot 28.8 percent from 3 at Alabama after four seasons, with a career-high of 35.1 percent. He shot just 33.6 percent from 3 his first two seasons in the NBA. Now in his third season, Jones is shooting a career-high 39.2 percent from 3.

As he shot 35.2 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s as a rookie, his growth in that area is encouraging. Especially as he’s taking 54.4 percent of his 3s from the corner this season, knocking down 43.0 percent of those attempts.

Moving on to Alvarado, the defensive dynamo’s quick hands and feet allow him to make a number of impact plays. His toughness is another factor that leads to his success, particularly against bigger players. That said, at 6-foot-0 and 179 pounds, plenty of players are bigger than Alvarado.

That’s one reason he’s likely to come off the bench for the Hawks, even if he sees minutes beside 3-time All-Star, Trae Young.

Like Jones, the third-year guard is also enjoying a career season from 3, hitting 37.5 of his long-range attempts. Alvarado shot just 32.2 percent on his 3-point attempts his first two seasons, though he’s never shot below 33 percent on catch-and-shoot attempts in any season. Furthermore, he’s hit 41.2 percent of his corner 3s over the past two seasons.

Both players also have notable secondary skills on offense. Jones is a capable passer. Alvarado has a nifty floater.

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