The rumblings just keep getting louder: The Atlanta Hawks may trade Trae Young this offseason.
It would be a radical change of direction in Atlanta, but the front office is clearly thinking about that pivot. The latest buzz comes from Marc Stein in his Monday Substack newsletter.
"Could the Hawks ultimately decide to keep Dejounte Murray and trade Trae Young in the offseason? I can tell you this much: They've certainly convinced various rival teams that a Dejounte In/Trae Out course is going to be legitimately considered...
"Perhaps the more significant reason why Trae Trade Talk has a more tangible feel than ever before: There appears to be a true market forming for Young for really the first time in his six seasons as a Hawk."
The Spurs have circulated for months among prominent league observers as a viable destination for Young's offensive gifts. In Victor Wembanyama, they also seemingly possess precisely the sort of long and rangy defensive anchor who could mitigate Young's defensive deficiencies. It is likewise believed in some corners of the league that Young would have interest in South Texas as a destination if he were forced to leave Atlanta.
The Lakers also would be interested, a win-now team looking to spark its 20th-ranked offense and take some of the shot creation load off LeBron James. The Lakers had been interested in Dejounte Murray at the trade deadline for the same reason, but Young is the superior offensive player.
Young is an All-Star this season, averaging 27.1 points and 10.9 assists a game. Why the market was always limited for him was his defense — he's often disinterested on that end and commits silly fouls — and that has led to questions about building a winner around him because he would be (and has been) targeted in a playoff series. But for teams that think they can overcome that — because they have Wembanyama or Anthony Davis protecting the paint — Young brings elite offensive spark, 3-point shooting and more.
As we move closer to the NBA Draft in June this talk will pick up. Whether or not that talk turns into action is another question — the Hawks have an organizational investment in Young, dating back to the night he was drafted — but the talk is out there and getting louder.