Analyst names Hawks star potential ‘game-changer’ trade target for Nets

Atlanta Hawks, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks say they are content to enter the regular season as currently constructed despite their long-rumored pursuit of Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam. But the outside world is all but certain they have another big move looming, and one suggestion, in particular, would certainly qualify.

“Brooklyn should aim at the very top of the trade market,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on August 28. “Young (a top-15 scorer and passer each of the past four seasons) could be the game-changer this group needs to crash the elite ranks.”

Young, 24, is heading into the third year of a five-year, $215 million contract.

In addition to speculation that the Hawks could have to cut further costs to appease ownership, there has long been some thought that Young could be the next star to demand a trade.

That has yet to happen for the NBA’s back-to-back total assists leader, Young, who averaged 26.2 points and 10.2 assists last season. Not only that, he has repeatedly stated that his goal is to win a championship with the Hawks, and his actions – like getting back to Atlanta earlier than in previous seasons to start training – back that up.

Young has talked about wanting to accomplish more in his career, even with all that he already has such as leading the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021.

“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.”

Young has also talked about the frustrations of regressing since that Conference Finals run.

But, again, he has said nothing that would suggest he is plotting his exit as some might believe based on how things have gone over the last few seasons. The Hawks have swapped out several key members of that ECF squad

They have also changed the front office and coaching staff, the latter of which has been changed three times now with the hiring of Quin Snyder during the All-Star break.

Related Story. Trae Young identifies potential ‘game changer’ for Hawks. light

He’s also acknowledged that the only way to change opinions is to win.

Brooklyn clung to the No. 6 seed last season after having to trade stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the deadline. That also created a void of star power which guard Spencer Dinwiddie noted following a showdown with the Hawks last season.

The very same reason why the Nets would want him is why the Hawks would not be inclined to oblige barring predictions of his trade demand coming true.

Jalen Johnson floated as trade target for Detroit Pistons

“If Detroit doesn’t want to wait for future drafts, then it should try landing prospects who were pulled from recent ones and haven’t taken off yet,” Buckley wrote later in the article. “Johnson may emerge as an all-purpose defender with anti-gravity bounce and an ability to make plays on the move.”

Johnson is heading into his third season and could be poised for a breakout following the trade of John Collins, especially if the Hawks don’t land Siakam or someone similar. The former No. 20 overall pick in 2021, Johnson averaged 5.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 2022-23.

Unless it is part of a deal for a star, the Hawks have little reason to part with Johnson.

dark. Next. 5 Players Hawks might replace Clint Capela with by the trade deadline

He is essentially under team control for three more seasons with restricted free agency and he has flashed on numerous occasions.