The offseason has brought with it more trade rumors than usual for the Atlanta Hawks. Every team is bombarded with them this time of year but the Hawks had been a younger team that was under the radar in many regards. After three straight postseason appearances, however, expectations are different now.
With a coaching change and a shakeup in the front office changing out many of the decision-makers who put this group together, changes seemed inevitable.
Even Trae Young has found himself the center of trade speculation with pre-season predictions that he could be the next start to demand a trade and, more recently, that the front office has the green light to trade him.
“That time of year again,” Young tweeted on June 19.
Young has addressed the rumors before and has repeatedly made his desire to win with the Hawks known.
Ownership has also expressed his fondness for Young in those comments that were taken out of context – Ressler was empowering his front office with full control of the roster.
“When it comes to how and which players to talk about…that’s what [general manager Landry Fields], that’s what [assistant general manager Kyle Korver], that’s what [head coach Quin Snyder], and frankly, that what the players should be talking about,” Hawks governor Tony Ressler told ‘Dukes and Bell’. But, if you’re asking me am I’m a fan of Trae Young, he’s extraordinary.”
Young is coming off a season that saw him lead the league in total assists for the second year in a row but he also struggled to connect from long distance at his usual clip.
He has vowed to get back to his old way under Snyder whose offenses feature the deep ball.
“This year I didn’t shoot the ball the best,” Young admitted on the ‘From The Point by Trae Young’ podcast on June 9. “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.”
Young reflected on his career during that episode, acknowledging that, while he has made the Eastern Conference Finals, he feels like he has not really won anything. He also named some of his favorite teammates, and one of those players, Lou Williams, has called it a career after 17 years in the NBA.
Four of those with the Hawks in two separate stints, the latter of which was alongside Young who sent a strong message to Williams.
While Young was celebrating his teammates of days past, the Hawks are looking for his next teammate or teammates.
Atlanta Hawks get second chance with projected lottery pick
The Hawks’ pre-draft workouts have featured plenty of upper-tier talent despite a heavy flow of second-round and likely undrafted prospects also filtering in. But one that got away was Kentucky guard Cason Wallace.
Wallace was slated to work out for the Hawks on June 6 but backed out one day after working out for the Washington Wizards who hold the No. 8 overall pick.
Now, amid news the Hawks could trade into the top 10, Wallace is again scheduled to work out.
Wallace, an All-Freshman team selection in the SEC who ESPN’s latest mock draft projects to go No. 15 overall to the Hawks, headlines a group that also features fellow projected first-rounders Brandin Podziemski of Santa Clara and international prospect Rayan Rupert of the New Zealand Breakers.
Podziemski was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year this past season on top of All-Conference honors. He averaged 19.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists and sunk 43.8% of his threes.
Rupert has intrigued scouts with his length and athleticism after averaging 6.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists this past season.
The group also features a prospect ESPN projects to go in the second round in Penn State wing Seth Lundy who averaged 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds and earned All-Big Ten Tournament honors this past season. Listed at 6-foot-6, Lundy also shot 40.0% from three-point land and averaged fewer than 1.0 turnovers per game.
Also in the group is intriguing UC Santa Barbara forward Miles Norris, a 6-foot-10 sharpshooter who knocked down 39.1% of his threes last season. He too earned All-Conference and All-Tournament honors.
Rounding out this set is Overtime Elite Ignite guard Mojave King who has flirted with a second-round grade as well.