One of the topics addressed was Young’s recent appearance at a Los Angeles Lakers home game in their second-round series against the Golden State Warriors a couple of weeks ago.
Young addressed subsequent rumors surrounding that appearance on his podcast, after his co-host, a childhood friend named Winston, introduced the topic.
“A lot of people made a lot of things out of me being at games,” Young explained. “I’ve been to a lot of games throughout my years. I’ve always been a fan of the game… most of the time I’ve got a friend playing that I’m there watching, like [Michael Porter, Jr.] for Denver.”
Porter, Jr. was indeed on the floor for the game in question.
The Lakers fanbase and local media–both notorious for turning the tiniest grains of salt into the most towering of mountains–were quick to insinuate that a professional basketball player attending a professional basketball game was conclusive evidence that Young wanted out of Atlanta and was intent on pursuing a trade to the Purple & Gold.
That being the case, Young’s podcast comments should certainly provide some comfort to Hawks fans who may be fearing that the team’s most impactful player since Dominique Wilkins has his sights set on greener pastures.
This is not the first time in recent memory that the Atlanta Hawks point guard has been at the center of trade rumors.
Just before the playoffs started this year, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor cited “league sources” when he reported that the Hawks’ front office had received the green light from ownership to do whatever it wanted, with the implication being that those discussions could perhaps include trading away Young.
Let’s be clear: no actual news was broken with this “report.” Every front office in the NBA has the freedom to explore trade scenarios involving their team’s roster. It is every NBA front office’s duty to explore trade scenarios involving their team’s roster.
That common sense did not stop a slew of trade rumors from being created just as Atlanta was gearing up for their postseason run.
Thankfully, after a rough couple of outings to open Atlanta’s first-round series against the Boston Celtics, Young responded with stellar performances in Games 3-6, including arguably the most clutch shot of his career at the end of Game 5.
Had Young missed this 30-foot logo bomb, Atlanta’s season would have been over and he would have been the subject of immense media scrutiny. The game-winner was part of a virtuoso performance from Young on the TD Garden floor, scoring the final 14 points for Atlanta en route to the shocking victory.
Young followed that up with an electric first half of Game 6 back in the friendly confines of State Farm Arena, before he and his Atlanta Hawks teammates collectively ran out of gas down the stretch against a superior Boston team.
Still, Young’s performance was enough to quiet down most of the trade rumors that had been plaguing the team in the media and quieted any doubts about his viability as a No. 1 option.
All of this made the speculation frenzy that followed his appearance at the Lakers game that much more frustrating.
Lakers fans were quick to point out that Young recently purchased a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Calabasas as if a celebrity purchasing a home in Tinseltown was some sort of shocking anomaly.
In either case, it’s refreshing that Young has now poured some resources into this podcast so that Hawks fans can hear news and musings straight from the source, as opposed to having to sort through the smoke and mirrors of an increasingly deceptive sports media landscape.