In one of the more interesting developments, Atlanta Hawks star point guard Trae Young’s name has come up as a potential swap option for one of the more polarizing figures in recent NBA memory, Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets. While both players have their fair share of supporters and detractors, Irving’s antics have been far more of a distraction.
Young’s biggest faux pas to date has arguably been the decision to skip a game that he was going to miss due to injury anyway – not to excuse a perhaps unexcused absence, but it is not the most egregious act as players miss games in those situations quite often.
Regardless, just because Irving has been disruptive on the court and in the locker room, players have not turned their backs on him – they tend to be more understanding of each other’s plights.
This time, Young took to social media to show an apparent sign of support for Irving.
Trae Young sends apparent show of support for Kyrie Irving amid trade demand
Irving sent out a tweet on Friday evening featuring a picture of late (great) reggae legend Bob Marley & The Wailers. The choice of video was not insignificant with Irving choosing the enduring 1980 hit, “Could You Be Loved”, perhaps a reference to an earlier report from Shams Charania of The Athletic that contract extension talks with the Nets broke down over certain language regarding winning a championship to realize guarantees in the final year.
That issue was revealed by Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report on Twitter.
Young’s response was simple but does affirm Irving’s individuality while the fist and heart emojis suggest he is in support of the embattled star.
This is not the first time that Young has been public in his support for Irving who has admittedly been a detriment to himself and his team with some of his antics. Those have generally been issues off the court lately, though, with Irving assuming a leadership role amid Kevin Durant’s injury-related absence.
Young’s time in Atlanta has come under increased scrutiny lately, especially after he finished 12th at his position in All-Star voting amongst the players and failed to even be selected as a reserve for the second time in four years since establishing himself.
His omission stands out even more glaringly when compared to some of the players included.
Still, there are questions about his long-term future in Atlanta amongst NBA circles leading to some of the more out-of-the-box proposals such as John Hollinger of The Athletic (subscription required) broaching the idea of an Irving-Young swap. Hollinger rightfully says the Hawks would be the ones to say no to this deal.
He does wonder if swapping John Collins for Joe Harris with a 2023 first-round pick helps.
The idea is that Harris, 30, will come off the books right as Dejounte Murray is hitting unrestricted free agency.
For an organization that is notoriously conscious of its proximity to the luxury tax, the idea of shaving nearly $5 million off the bottom line can’t be ruled out as enticing. But the deal would require the Nets to trade the almost equally-mercurial Ben Simmons according to NBA rules.
Of course, the Hawks have had a well-documented in Simmons in the past. But he has been a shell of his former self even as Brooklyn fought their way to the upper crust of the Eastern Conference this year. Add in that putting him in the deal would mean adding Bogdan Bogdanovic and, perhaps more importantly then, would add nearly $12 million in salary.
While we may not be close to seeing an Irving-for-Young swap, the two still have an amicable relationship for whatever that is worth.