The Atlanta Hawks being content to take this roster into the 2023-24 season as constructed is both a testament to their confidence in this group and to the fact that one Trae Young plans to stay in place too. Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote in the September 29 edition of The Athletic’s newsletter, The Bounce, that “musings” of Young’s potential trade were just that.
Charania points to the “confusion” surrounding the Hawks this offseason.
“I doubt they have to seriously worry about this for another couple years, if ever,” Charania wrote. “But teams will be on the lookout for signs of discontent.”
Young – a client of the polarizing Klutch Sports – caused quite a stir during the playoffs when he showed up during a Los Angeles Lakers playoff game with agent Rich Paul. Paul also represents and is long-time friends with Lakers superstar LeBron James.
But whispers that he could be traded popped up last season amid disagreements with former head coach Nate McMillan resulting in Young skipping a game he was not going to play in due to injury. Those notions were reinforced in the minds of some who took ownership’s comments to mean they were open to trading Young.
Governor Tony Ressler, in fact, professed his affinity for Young.
What Ressler did do, however, was empower the front office to make those kinds of decisions, even if that included Young.
Meanwhile, Young has done nothing but promote Atlanta, and assert that he can win a championship with the Hawks despite the opinions of some like former NBA star Gilbert Arenas that ownership’s unwillingness to spend makes that unlikely if not impossible.
Young led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020-21. But that was three seasons ago, and the two-time All-Star knows the NBA – and professional sports in general – is a “what have you done for me lately?” type of industry. And, after climbing to the heights and achieving the things he has, winning has to come next.
“Whenever you’re in this position, you never feel like it’s enough,” Trae Young said on the second episode of ‘From the Point by Trae Young‘ on June 9. “You always feel like you want more – like there’s more out there.”
Trae Young is Hawks’ reason for optimism
Young’s tenure has reinvigorated the Hawks, making them perennial playoff contenders once again.
And, despite some outside disappointment with their offseason, he remains key to what could be a strong bounceback campaign from the franchise that hovered around .500 at a record pace and won two fewer games last season than the year before.
“The Hawks typically score at a good rate whenever he plays,” wrote Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report on September 23. “In each of the last three seasons, the Hawks’ marks for points per 100 possessions ranked in the 95th, 95th and 87th percentiles, respectively, when Young was in the game.”
Similarly, Young points to head coach Quin Snyder as a key to the team’s progress.
Snyder arrived two games after the All-Star break. And, although the Hawks went just 10-11 under his guidance, they were a noticeably different team.
“Bringing Quin in halfway [through the season], I think, is a game changer for us,” Young said on the debut episode of his podcast on June 1. “Just from what he brings like his mental and just him being a real teacher….He teaches everybody.”
The Hawks’ media day is on October 2 along with the bulk of the league. Their first preseason contest is on October 10 while they tip off the regular season on October 25.