Trae Young trades Hawks must consider after winning 2024 NBA Draft Lottery

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 13, 2024

The Atlanta Hawks had one of the most disappointing 2023-24 seasons in the NBA, finishing 36-46 and getting smoked by the Chicago Bulls as the No. 10 seed in the play-in tournament. But a new era could be on the horizon in Atlanta. Following Sunday’s NBA Draft Lottery, the Hawks used a miraculous stroke of luck to move up and grab the No. 1 pick. This is an important offseason for the Hawks and one in which they should look to trade Trae Young.

Since Atlanta selected Trae Young with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, he has become the franchise player. After a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2021 playoffs, the Hawks have mailed in three straight underachieving seasons. While they did manage to take the Boston Celtics to six games in the first round last season, they took a step back this past season.

One of the major questions that has surrounded Atlanta the past couple of seasons is the Trae Young and Dejounte Murray pairing. The duo was supposed to form an All-Star backcourt and help propel the Hawks to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. That hasn’t happened, however, and rumors suggest Atlanta is seriously looking to move on from one or the other this offseason, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“They had Dejounte Murray in trade talks. I think the possibility of trade talks including Trae Young this spring and into the summer are very real too,” Wojnarowski said. “But that No. 1 overall pick now for the Hawks gives them a chance to bring in an impact player if they decide to maybe go younger and start maybe rebuilding this group.”

Hawks should trade Trae Young this offseason

Short of the Hawks trading away the No. 1 pick for an impact veteran, the top item on their agenda this offseason should be to trade Trae Young. That’s not to say that Young is not a franchise building block or that there’s anything wrong with him. Quite the contrary actually. It’s probably best for him to seek to win elsewhere as Atlanta embarks on a rebuild.

tlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields (right) and Mark TatumDeputy commissioner of the NBA after the Hawks get the number one pick in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place West.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After his season ended, Young made it clear he has no interest in being a part of a rebuild and wants to be a part of team whose priority is to win now. That could have been the Hawks’ mindset before the lottery, but now those plans should shift. Atlanta should not attempt to move the No. 1 pick to appease Young. There could be a couple of teams, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, that could be potential partners in a Young trade.

The Lakers are a team that has been linked to Young over the past year. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis getting older, LA certainly fits the bill as a team looking to win now. And one of the major issues they had during their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets was the lack of consistent scoring alongside James and Davis.

That’s where Young can come in. He’s somebody other teams need to guard and is an elite playmaker. He can take a lot of the ball handling and playmaking pressure off of James. The question becomes what would the Lakers send in a package that the Hawks would want.

For starters, Austin Reaves would be a good addition. He’s on a team-friendly contract and still has a bit of potential. On a younger, rebuilding team, he can be afforded the patience to continue to grow and could be a good fit alongside Dejounte Murray, who is more of a scorer. The Lakers would almost assuredly have to include Rui Hachimura for salary purposes. But the Hawks could nab a pair of young players in Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis to be a part of their long-term plans, plus some draft capital (Lakers are in line to have the No. 17 pick in this draft and can offer some future picks).

In terms of what a trade with the Spurs would look like, Keldon Johnson would have to be included to make salaries work. But after that, San Antonio has a few young players who could entice the Hawks. The Spurs probably wouldn’t want to part with Devin Vassell, but players like Malachi Branham, Blake Wesley or even possibly Tre Jones would be players the Hawks should have interest in.

San Antonio also has two top-10 picks (Nos. 4, 8) in the upcoming draft that could be used in a blockbuster trade proposal. The Spurs might not want to include both picks in a Trae Young trade offer, but the Hawks will be looking for a haul in order to pull the trigger.