Proposed trade sees Atlanta Hawks land $63 million rising star, top-5 pick

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

If there is a trade package that would have the Atlanta Hawks considering giving up on the backcourt duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, it likely would have to be overwhelming.

There are reasons to have questions: Things got clunky at times in their first season together which Murray admitted could be challenging, and he will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.

So, what if a package that looks to replace Murray while also taking John Collins off the Hawks’ hands and giving them a plethora of draft picks? Another season where things don’t look as dynamic as envisioned could bring changes anyway, perhaps the Hawks would be wise to get ahead of the potential danger.

This trade comes from Kelly Iko of The Athletic (subscription required), looking to speed up the Houston Rockets’ rebuild under new head coach Ime Udoka, formerly of the Boston Celtics.

Houston finished tied with the second-worst record in the NBA this past season.

The offer above provides some win-now pieces headlined by Kevin Porter Jr., a premium pick in the 2023 draft, and the potential to pick in the lottery two more times. Even if Houston is successful in their expected star hunt this summer, that doesn’t always work.

Porter, 23, averaged career-highs of 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals this past season adding 5.7 assists, and shooting 36.6% from beyond the arc. The former Cleveland Cavalier and No. 30 overall pick (2019) has good size at 6-foot-4 and has experience operating both on and off the ball and plays both ends of the floor.

He starts a four-year, $63 million contract next season but the subsequent years are non-guaranteed until June 30 2024 and there is a club option for the final season in 2026-27.

Kenyon Martin Jr. is a 22-year-old, athletic forward who averaged 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists this past season but has struggled with his three-point efficiency over the last two years and is heading into the final year of his contract.

Veteran Jae’Sean Tate will turn 28 years old in October and struggled with this three-ball, shooting just 28.3% from deep in 2022-23.

But he is a feisty defender going into the second year of a three-year, $20.6 million contract.

The No. 4 pick would give the Hawks a shot at Overtime Elite star Amen Thompson, a 6-foot-7 combo guard with elite (no pun intended) athleticism. He averaged 16.4 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.3 rebounds last season.

His stats will not translate but highlight his versatility.

There are other options – Thompson’s twin brother, Ausar Thompson – Houston’s Jerace Walker, or Cam Whitmore from Villanova – but Amen Thompson would be a great fit. The future firsts would also let the Hawks plan for the future or make another win-now move if they wanted to do so.

The Atlanta Hawks would be breaking up a historic backcourt duo

As much as the Hawks may want to alleviate themselves from the remaining three years and $78.5 million on Collins’ contract after three years of trade speculation, Murray is a steep price to pay to get it done.

Murray and Young combined to make NBA history, joining former Chicago Bulls pair Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

The Hawks gave up two unprotected first-round picks, a swap, and another lottery-protected first-rounder to bring Murray to Atlanta.

Moving on now from a player that Young pushed to bring in would likely be part of a larger rebuilding push. And, given the Hawks hired Quin Snyder – whose Utah Jazz teams went to the playoffs in six straight seasons – before the regular season ended, that seems highly unlikely.

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There will be some level of change to this roster and speculation will always run wild. This just seems like too hefty of a price to pay (winning) to avoid the luxury tax.