Atlanta Hawks urged to consider taking action with Trae Young

Mar 13, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) shown on the court before the opening tip off against the Minnesota Timberwolves at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) shown on the court before the opening tip off against the Minnesota Timberwolves at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

For their troubles this season, the Atlanta Hawks are being presented with a choice (in theory) this offseason on star point guard Trae Young.

“The Hawks traded their fully unprotected 2025 and 2027 first-round picks to the Spurs for [Dejounte] Murray, along with a 2026 first-round pick swap,” explains Bryan Toporek for Forbes. “They have their own first-rounders this year and next, along with a lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick from the Sacramento Kings, but they can’t trade any first-round picks beyond those until 2029 at the earliest.

That’s where trading Young could work to their advantage.”

Toporek argues that the Hawks could (and quite possibly should) explore their options with Young this offseason. He offers up, not just the defensive concerns, but also questions Young’s ability to lead a team based on previous reports, as well as the Hawks’ finances.

Young is in the first year of a five-year, $215 million max deal.

But, Toporek notes, the Hawks have Bogdan Bogdanovic on the books along with De’Andre Hunter’s $95 million extension which will kick in next season. The Hawks also still have hefty financial commitments to center Clint Capela and John Collins the latter of whom has been mired in trade speculation for two years.

Collins has notably been a critic of Young’s playing style in the past but the issue has not reached the public at least since.

“Starting with the locker room, it’s no secret there’s a serious disconnect between Young, the team’s star player, and many — though some say nearly all — of his teammates,” reported Bill Reiter of CBS Sports. “He is not beloved, sources say, and there’s a strong view that Young fails to lead, to understand or care to understand what is required of him, and that as a result the team will never achieve what it should until that reality is fixed.”

This is not the first time we have heard this suggestion from outside voices.

“The Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell trades last offseason set a baseline for what the Hawks should expect in return for Young,” Toporek argues, “multiple first-round picks and/or pick swaps, along with at least one young, high-upside prospect.”

Young is a constant supporter of his teammates publicly and there never seems to be any evidence of displeasure on the court but the locker room can be a different place.

Related Story. Landry Fields sounds off on Trae Young, roster after firing Nate McMillan. light

Still, moving off a player as prolific and supportive of the community as Young would be bold.

History Repeating Itself in Atlanta Hawks FO

Reiter’s report also revealed another, perhaps more intriguing bit of information about the inner workings of the Hawks.

“One nugget that illustrates the strange politics of the place: There are whispers that [general manager] Fields didn’t want [head coach Quin] Snyder hired in the first place. And that [assistant general manager Kyle] Korver was the one, by managing the Resslers effectively, who pushed for Snyder’s hire.”

This is similar to the situation that saw Fields rise to power.

He took over for former team president Travis Schlenk who stepped down in December after an offseason that included the blockbuster trade for Murray. That trade is said to have played a part in Schlenk’s departure as well as his decision to veto a trade for Collins.

There have also been reports that principal owner Tony Ressler’s son, Nick Ressler, is operating as a quasi-team president which the elder Ressler has pushed back against.

Nick Ressler’s official title on the team’s site is “Director, Basketball and Business Operations”.

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Many of these reports have made claims that cannot be substantiated beyond the report itself without anyone with the Hawks telling all. Short of that, it is all speculation and conjecture. But enough of it to see ample suggestions that the Hawks pivot from Young to a group led by Murray whose contract and looming free agency in 2024 also have to be on the Hawks’ minds.