Atlanta Hawks’ ‘murky and mediocre’ outlook predicted to force star’s hand

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite comments that should reinforce his commitment to the Atlanta Hawks, star point guard Trae Young continues to be the subject of trade rumors.

“Atlanta’s outlook is somewhere between murky and mediocre, wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on July 18. “It takes gobs of optimism and a hearty helping of imagination to picture the Hawks crashing the championship conversation this coming season. If Atlanta has wondered whether this mix is right, it’s reasonable to assume Young could be having the same thoughts.”

The Hawks have been heavily linked to Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam. So far, their efforts to land the two-time All-Star and All-NBA selection have proven fruitless despite various trade packages being discussed.

It has not just been the still-uneventful trade talks for Siakam that could make Young cross.

The Hawks traded John Collins after years of speculation and have yet to replace him, though they have a pair of in-house candidates in Saddiq Bey and Jalen Johnson. And there have been persistent rumors surrounding forward De’Andre Hunter and, perhaps even more importantly, Clint Capela.

Atlanta is said to have explored the idea of moving one or both of Capela and Hunter in part to make way for youngsters Onyeak Okongwu and AJ Griffin, respectively.

If the Hawks follow through with each of those potential pursuits, that would mean that would leave just three players from the team that made the surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020-21.

The only constants would be Young, Okongwu, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

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That is quite a bit of turnover and does not even include the front office and coaching staff, both of which were overhauled this past season. Young is signed through the 2026-27 season but we have seen stars demand trades for smaller infractions by their organizations and he has a $48.9 million player option in the final season.

There are plenty of reasons to think that Young could be the next player to force his way out of his current situation.

Trae Young’s words suggest he wants to stay with Atlanta Hawks

It’s not really even inferring to say that Young wants to stay with the Hawks at this point. His contract aside, he has constantly spoken of wanting, not just to win a championship, but to win one for Atlanta.

“Whenever you’re in this position, you never feel like it’s enough,” Young said on the ‘From the Point by Trae Young’ podcast on June 9. “I haven’t won really anything, to be honest with you. … 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.”

And he remains high on his on-court partnership with Dejounte Murray whose trade to the Hawks last offseason Young pushed for.

“Trae built what he built in Atlanta,” Murray told ESPN reporter Ros Gold-Onwude on July 12 during Summer League in Las Vegas. “He earned the right to be the head of the snake…I think that’s important.”

There are plenty of reasons to think Young could want out looking from the outside in.

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But he has given no indication that he wants to do anything but deliver on his vow to win a championship with the Hawks.