Are the Atlanta Hawks (22-22) on a one-way path to a split from Trae Young? The Hawks are on a three-game heater, most recently knocking off the Miami Heat 121-113 extending their winning streak to three games. Ironically, the Heat were the team that knocked the Hawks out of the playoffs last season helping set the current tumultuous timeline in motion.
According to a report from Lauren L. Williams and Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required), Young took a flight back with family separate from the team following Game 2 and was fined for it.
The time since has been filled with reports of contention between Young and head coach Nate McMillan with the latter reportedly considering retirement.
Apparently, Young’s source of contention may have been higher up.
Trae Young trade was ‘broached’ by Atlanta Hawks, says insider
“Here’s what I can tell you, from multiple sources – I don’t know if it goes anywhere – but that has been discussed,” replied Vivlamore on 92.9 The Game’s ‘A to Z’ when asked about Young being traded. “That’s as far as I can go. But from, multiple people – whether it happens or not, how serious it is, I don’t know. But I know that subject has been broached.”
Young was deemed the next potential star to force their way out of their current situation by rival executives according to Bleacher Report NBA insider Chris Haynes.
Vivlamore’s initial report also details McMillan’s likely exit coming at the end of the season despite a slight thaw between him and Young also noting the fine for the private flight strained Young’s relationship with exiled former team president Travis Schlenk.
Schlenk was given the title of “special advisor” which Vivlamore says is nominal.
The architect of this current group has had “nothing to do” with the Hawks since stepping down surprisingly three weeks ago.
Vivlamore writes the Hawks have kept both around to keep up appearances amid a search for a new jersey patch sponsor, the latest financially motivated move that could ultimately be detrimental to the on-court product. There was already one trade for John Collins nixed while they dealt away Kevin Huerter to avoid paying the luxury tax.
A big part of this, Vivlamore explains, is that it is difficult to build around Young.
“Trae Young is their guy right now,” said Vivlamore. “You have to be in. You traded Luka Doncic for him and you can see what Luka is doing. We can all say they advanced the same amount in the playoffs. But Luka does what he does on a nightly basis…They’ve got to live with that.”
Young’s size will always be a limiting factor defensively but his effort has also come into question on both ends when he is not directly in the action.
Adding Dejounte Murray this past summer was a bold step to address the issue of needing another star next to the mercurial Young. But the Hawks did themselves no favors adding so little perimeter shooting to replace what they lost. It still seems as though we are far from a Young trade but the possibility can no longer simply be dismissed.