Threat No. 3: The Toronto Raptors
If it feels like we’re simply touring the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament, it’s because we are. Spoiler alert: the next team will complete the set. The reasons for that are twofold. First, teams in the “middle” are the most likely to make a big trade; just think about where the teams that made big trades last offseason finished in the standings: Minnesota (7th in the West), Cleveland (8th in the East) and Atlanta (9th).
Secondly, the Western Conference is made up of teams that either have an answer at point guard, don’t have the assets to make a trade, or are rebuilding. That makes it very likely that if Young is traded, he will end up on another Eastern Conference team.
One option could be the Toronto Raptors, who will hopefully have a new head coach in place by the time free agency begins. Their former All-Star at point guard, Fred VanVleet, can be a free agent this summer and therefore may sign with another team. In doing so, he could eliminate one suitor for Young and open up another.
The Raptors aren’t flush with trade assets, but they aren’t without any either. OG Anunoby could be a very interesting starting point for the Hawks, with Toronto using lower-rung rotation players to fill in around him to make the salary work. Do the Hawks ask about Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam? How quickly would Toronto hang up?
Young doesn’t seem like a Toronto type of player, but Nurse is gone, and a new head coach may love the offensive firepower and be less concerned with the defensive deficiencies. The Raptors could send an irresistible trade package the Hawks’ way.