Where there’s smoke there is usually fire.
However, rumors of the Atlanta Hawks trading Trae Young just got a lot of cold water poured on them, at least when it comes to the simmering rumors about a potential deal sending him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The chances are even slimmer for Trae Young to end up in Los Angeles [than Kyrie Irving],” said Michael Scotto on the ‘HoopsHype Podcast’ on June 1. “I kind of got a kick out of that one. But we’ve seen stranger things.”
These rumors are really an amalgamation of misinterpreted comments from ownership about giving autonomy to the front office and Young’s own passion for basketball after he was spotted attending Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets.
But Young was also caught somewhat off-guard by the surge of murmurs about a potential departure from Atlanta, a place where he has repeatedly and openly said he wants to win a championship.
“A lot of people made a lot of things about me being at games,” Young said on the debut episode of the ‘From The Point’ podcast on June 1. “Who knows what it is.”
Young went on to say that he is a fan of the game and noted his attendance at WNBA games.
This would seem to be going against the popular notion about Young’s tenure in Atlanta but jibes with the messaging from head coach Quin Snyder and from Young himself regarding the future of the Hawks.
Young is under contract through the 2026 season on a five-year, $215 million max contract. The earliest he can get out of that contract would be after the 2025 season (player option).
Atlanta would almost certainly have little trouble finding a taker for him if made available. But, contrary to increasingly popular belief, that has not been the case either, especially in light of Young and Dejounte Murray’s historic first season together. They were the second set of teammates to both average at least 20.0 points and 6.0 assists in a season.
The other was Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen from the 90s Chicago Bulls.
Trae Young reacts to Dejounte Murray’s first season with Atlanta Hawks
“Dejounte was a big piece of our team this year,” Young said on his podcast. “A huge piece of our team this year the reason why we had so much success. And he’s such a competitor. He’s just like me in a lot of ways
“We’re both competitors, we both love to have fun, and I think that’s why we love being around each other. Because we keep the main thing the main thing, and just we want to keep getting better every day. And we know if we keep putting in the work like we both put in um good things come out of it.”
Murray’s contract is up at the end of the 2023-24 season and, given the structure of his current deal, he will hit unrestricted free agency.
Again, there have been no sides either side is looking to move on.
Young’s comments would seem to support that and Murray’s remarks during his exit interview on April 28 fall right in line with that.
The one thing teams hate to do as much as lose is admit they were wrong and, even amidst a sea of changes for the Hawks, the investment in both Murray and Young would seem to outweigh the early inconsistencies of their partnership.
What’s more, if this is them feeling each other out, they could be extremely dangerous when they get fully comfortable in the new system under Snyder.