On the trade block since last summer, Yahoo Sports insider Jake Fischer reported that the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to resume their talks about Murray this offseason. The New Orleans Pelicans, who held trade conversations with the Hawks this week, could also revisit those talks. Capela is another player the Pelicans are rumored to have an interest in.
However, the most notable section of Fischer’s report was about Trae Young. Per Fischer, multiple league executives believe Young could become available for trade this offseason.
NBA Rumors: Trae Young Available in Trade Talks This Offseason?
“The [Los Angeles] Lakers certainly won’t limit their thinking to [Dejounte] Murray,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reports. “There are several front offices that listened to Atlanta’s pre-deadline chatter and came away from conversations with the [Atlanta] Hawks of the belief Trae Young could become available for trade this summer — depending on Atlanta’s outcome for the remainder of this campaign.”
Fischer also said,
“For now, one spot other than Los Angeles that’s repeatedly been mentioned by NBA figures as a potential home for Young — if Atlanta were to ever consider parting with its franchise face and All-Star lead ball-handler — is San Antonio.”
A Rocky Situation
The Young Era in Atlanta has been a roller coaster. As the keystone of the Hawks’ rebuild following the Mike Budenholzer Era, Young has been sensational on the court.
After finishing second place to Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic in the 2019 Rookie of the Year race, Young earned his first All-Star appearance in his second season. Though the Hawks had won 49 games by this point, he and the team showed promise.
Yet, the situation began to sour in his third season.
Midway through the 2020-21 season, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was relieved of his duties. At the time, reports had surfaced that Pierce had been heard on a league call with the Competition Committee lamenting Young’s shot selection and foul-drawing tactics.
Hawks former general manager Travis Schlenk cited his dissatisfaction with the team’s progress as the source of Pierce’s firing. However, the general consensus is that Young’s feelings about Pierce greatly influenced the decision.
Interestingly, Pierce’s replacement — Nate McMillan — was loyal to his predecessor. That said, McMillan was able to transform Atlanta into a serious team. Under his direction, the Hawks reached not only the playoffs but also the Eastern Conference Finals.
The following season, the Hawks reached the playoffs again but fell in the first round.
Then, three-quarters of the way through the 2022-23 season, McMillan got the axe as reports surfaced about his rumored friction with Young.
After his firing, former Hawks cornerstone John Collins revealed that McMillan’s style was more suited towards a veteran squad, as he continuously preached accountability. This was at a time when Murray was being painted as the locker room leader while the Hawks questioned Young’s leadership approach.
Just before the 2023 offseason, Atlanta was monitoring Young’s behavior and commitment to leadership.
More of the Same
Unfortunately for the Hawks, things have not gotten better for the organization. After hiring highly touted head coach Quin Snyder, the Hawks are just 32-40 in his tenure. Compare that to his predecessor Nate McMillan’s 98-80 record in Atlanta, and Snyder is certainly underachieving.
For his part, Young has bought into improving his game’s weakest area: the defensive end. Teams still single him out to take advantage of his physical limitations, but he’s playing with much more tenacity. Furthermore, unlike his previous head coaches, there seems to be no friction between him and Snyder.
Yet, the imbalance speaks to a need for a major change with a team that ranks third in points per game (121.5) but 30th in opponents’ points (124.0). Perhaps even trading Young.
While the Hawks would lose one of the league’s best offensive engines, they may acquire a two-way playmaker in return. To that point, Atlanta’s offense may improve by becoming less heliocentric as multiple players maximize their potential.
Frankly, though, neither Austin Reaves nor Devin Vassell is an ideal centerpiece in a trade for Young. A three-time All-Star entering his prime, a trade package for Young would have to be centered around a player like Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, Los Angeles Clippers swingman Paul George or New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.
None of those stars are mentioned as trade candidates.
Nonetheless, it’s notable that George can reach free agency and that James Harden will be a free agent this summer. Similarly, Ingram will reach free agency next offseason. On the other coast, Brown is under contract for the foreseeable future. Yet, Jrue Holiday mentioned retirement when his contract expires next offseason. Backcourt mate Derrick White’s current contract will end next offseason as well.