Reports Lakers-Dejounte Murray talks stopped. At least temporarily.

No one questions why the Lakers would make this trade: In Los Angeles, Dejounte Murray would suit well. He is a defensive enhancement, a great downhill player (a key to the Lakers' offense), and clutch—two game-winners in two weeks illustrate that.

But Lakers confront two questions. How much better is Murray than a hot D'Angelo Russell to warrant giving away their 2029 first-round pick? Can they find a third club to take Russell because the Hawks don't want him?

Marc Stein claimed in his Sunday email that Hawks-Lakers discussions had halted in recent weeks. Jovan Buha reported the same at The Athletic, and league sources told NBC Sports. Stein said things didn't seem to be improving:

Trade conversations are fluid this time of year and may be restarted, but one source called the possibility of Murray joining the Lakers before the deadline on Sunday "unrealistic."

Russell complicates this Lakers choice. Russell has scored 27.6 points and 6.8 assists in his previous five games, shooting 55.3% from 3 (up from 17.1 points and 42.9% for the season). The Lakers' front management should ask: Is Murray a first-round selection and better young player than Russell?

If the Lakers want Murray and his defensive boost, they must find a third club to deal Russell. 

The Hawks aren't interested—if Murray didn't mesh with Trae Young, why would Russell? Which third team and what sweeteners are needed to get them in the deal? Russell has a $18.7 million player option for next season and makes $17.3 million this season.

If the Lakers don't trade for Murray, anticipate a smaller move to add shooting or depth immediately. The Lakers need to act, but not in the way some supporters want.