Los Angeles Lakers discussed ‘pipe dream’ trade for Atlanta Hawks star

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are at a critical point for the organization and roster.

Noise is swirling around the outside. That can be a sign that the talent is in place and that the results are what needs to come.

Among the loftiest rumors to pop up is that the Hawks are looking to trade Trae Young – the reigning back-to-back total assists leader and the total points leader in 2021-22. Or even that Young could soon force his way out with the Los Angeles Lakers holding internal discussions about trading for Young.

However, that bit of Lakers’ news – courtesy of Jovan Buha of The Athletic (subscription required) on June 16 – also came with an important caveat that the talks appear to be nothing more than a “pipe dream” even within the confines of the Lakers’ organization.

Per Buha, L.A. has similarly discussed trading for Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Young’s tenure in Atlanta has been productive. Naturally, this has created expectations that even Young has admitted they failed to meet over the last couple of seasons.

“I mean obviously, I haven’t won everything. I haven’t won really anything, to be honest with you,” Young said during the ‘From The Point by Trae Young’ podcast on June 9. “I’ve gone into the Conference Finals which is cool. But, in my eyes, if you don’t win the championship, that ain’t enough.”

Related Story. Trae Young gets honest about Hawks career. light

“It’s tough when you’re declining, and when you go from the Conference Finals down,” said Young. “But it’s so hard to get to that point.”

The Hawks went from snapping a three-year playoff drought with a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020-21. But the coaching change that helped spark that run soon lost its luster and now, under the third head coach Young has had in going on six NBA seasons with Quin Snyder, Young is looking to get back to his old self.

“This year I didn’t shoot the ball the best…I feel like I could have been a lot better,” admitted Young. “I know going into next year I’m gonna be a lot better and getting back to what…my standards are for myself and even getting higher than that.”

A 35.5% shooter from deep in his career entering 2022-23, Young shot 33.5% last season.

Only his rookie season (32.4%) was worse and, while he did take a greater percentage of his attempts from catch-and-shoot looks in ‘23 compared to ‘21-’22, his pull-up efficiency fell too.

The adjustment to working off the ball may have played a part so it would seem only fair to see how well the pairing of Young and Dejounte Murray fares this coming season now that they have set a historic baseline.

Of course, the offseason is the NBA’s silly season, and trade rumors have been synonymous with the Hawks for the last few years.

Another coaching change and a front office shakeup were never going to quell that.

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young pops out at Lakers-themed event

One of Young’s latest appearances will certainly fuel enough mental fires to generate smoke in the rumor mill. The two-time All-Star recently attended an event in Los Angeles that was adorned in the familiar pairing of purple and gold. But this was not a Lakers event, and Young was not there to announce any sort of trade demands.

Young was there to help promote BODYARMOR.

Young has always maintained his desire to win a championship for Atlanta, his actions have often been taken to mean far more than he has intended. His appearance at Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals is a prime example.

He owns a home in L.A., is friends with Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., and noted that he has attended many games before.

Still, the story was about Young possibly foreshadowing his plans to force a trade to the Lakers.

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The only cure for those types of rumors is to win and the Hawks all seem to believe that they are on the right path toward that.