Can you build a championship team around Trae Young? Should Atlanta be moving on from the All-Star guard?
Atlanta’s front office and coach Quin Snyder may be asking themselves those very questions. The 22-29 Hawks stood pat at the trade deadline, not moving Dejounte Murray because they could not get the two first-rounders they sought, holding on to Clint Capella and others, and deciding to wait until the offseason to shake things up.
That shake-up could potentially include Young, some executives from other teams told Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
There are several front offices that listened to Atlanta’s pre-deadline chatter and came away from conversations with the Hawks of the belief Trae Young could become available for trade this summer — depending on Atlanta’s outcome for the remainder of this campaign. That could very well prove to be wishful thinking from rival teams, just like league personnel will hope and pray that Joel Embiid becomes available in Philadelphia, or Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes available in Milwaukee, and so on. But 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.
You can be sure the Hawks will deny this publicly. Atlanta’s investment in Young is well documented — they traded Luka Doncic for him on draft night. The organization bet big on Young, and he’s proven to be a star that helps fill the building. He’s popular with the fan base. That’s not something teams casually step away from — Young is good for business.
But so is winning and the Hawks are not doing that.
Young is a three-time All-Star (including this season), an All-NBA player who is an offensive force averaging 27.1 points and 10.9 assists a game, and yet he’s a polarizing figure among coaches, front office personnel and his NBA peers. He’s a terrible defender, undersized (6’1″ with a 6’2″ wingspan), and is disinterested on that end of the court, especially off-ball. When he does care about defense he is prone to unwise gambles or silly fouls. In a playoff series he will get targeted. Young led a team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, but has had limited playoff success since (if the postseason started today the Hawks would be the No. 10 seed, starting the play-in games on the road).
Trading Young would mean blowing the entire thing up in Atlanta and rebuilding — that’s a huge step.
But one the Hawks front office may be considering.