Dejounte Murray, who has been traded two times in the past three years, promises to enhance Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans to new heights

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Dejounte Murray speaks in an NBA Basketball conference

Dejounte Murray wasn’t bothered by being traded twice after his best NBA seasons.

Instead, the 27-year-old point guard is grateful for the chance to join a team that made the 2024 playoffs, led by Zion Williamson. Williamson attended Murray’s introductory press conference at the New Orleans Pelicans’ headquarters.

Murray believes his success in New Orleans will depend more on team achievements than his individual performance, and he’s okay with that.

“In the NBA, it’s a business, and I stay out of front-office decisions,” Murray said. “Winning is crucial in this league. It’s not just about one player. You have to prioritize what’s best for the team, even when it’s tough, and I understand that.”

Murray’s primary focus is on “working hard and being a positive influence,” he added. “That’s what I advise young players entering the league—focus on what you can control.”

During the 2021-22 season, Murray was an All-Star, averaging 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, and two steals per game with San Antonio. It was his final season with the Spurs, who drafted him 29th overall from Washington in the 2016 NBA draft.

San Antonio traded Murray to Atlanta, where he achieved a career-high average of 22.5 points per game last season. Now, he’s been traded again for the second time in three years.

“San Antonio was San Antonio, and Atlanta was Atlanta,” Murray reflected. “Now I’m with the Pelicans in New Orleans, and that’s what excites me. That’s all that matters.”

Dejounte Murray (NBA)

“I know my role. I’m a basketball player, not a GM,” Murray emphasized. “I want to continue growing as a man, a father, and a basketball player. I feel I fit in well here, and the transition should be smooth.”

Murray mentioned that the Pelicans were already a strong team.

New Orleans finished last regular season in seventh place in the Western Conference but dropped to the eighth playoff seed after losing a play-in game to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Williamson suffered a season-ending hamstring injury during that game, and New Orleans was swept by top-seeded Oklahoma City in the first playoff round.

“They won 49 games and made the playoffs; that says it all,” Murray noted. Murray also believes he can help Williamson develop as a professional player, and vice versa.

“He’s our superstar, and I’m eager to push him,” Murray said, looking over at Williamson, who sat in the front row opposite the podium where Murray was introduced.

“I told him I would push him,” Murray continued. “If I see something where he can improve, or if he sees something with me, we’ll be open to that. … I’m excited to push him to higher levels because there are many levels he can achieve.”

Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin and coach Willie Green both said they had been tracking Murray’s career and seized the chance to bring him on board — even though it meant parting with players they valued, like veteran Larry Nance Jr. and 2022 first-round pick Dyson Daniels.

New Orleans also traded two future first-round picks to the Hawks, along with 2022 second-round selection EJ Liddell and veteran center Cody Zeller.

Dejounte Murray jumps to complete the basket

“When we discussed where we could improve, the answer to most of those questions was Dejounte Murray,” Griffin said, emphasizing that he saw Murray as a “two-way player” who excels in making crucial plays at both ends of the court in late-game situations.

Murray’s addition also gives the Pelicans a genuine starting point guard — a role they lacked last season when CJ McCollum, primarily a shooting guard, took over the point guard position in New Orleans’ starting lineup.

Griffin mentioned that the Pelicans had attempted to acquire Murray before last season’s trade deadline. They were encouraged to try again this offseason after meeting with agent Rich Paul at a Klutch Sports event in Los Angeles for draft prospects.

Griffin recalled Paul saying, “You really should go after Dejounte Murray.”

“And when Paul expressed Dejounte’s enthusiasm for our situation,” Griffin added, “it was truly eye-opening.”

“He’s eager to win. He’s eager to win here in New Orleans. He’s eager to win alongside Zion, Brandon Ingram, and CJ. He’s eager to be part of this team, and I believe that passion will be evident throughout his time here.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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