$215 Million All-Star floated as Hawks trade option: 'Simple & clean'

The Atlanta Hawks' looming offseason decisions are sparking some trade ideas with their Play-In Tournament opponent.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / David Berding/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks (36-45) and Chicago Bulls will meet on April 17 for their opening-round Play-In Tournament matchup.

A contest for the right to face the winner of the 7-8 matchup between two of the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Orlando Magic could wind up as just a footnote between these two teams, however. 

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley thinks the two sides should work together this offseason.

“The Bulls will keep moving [Zach] LaVine a high priority this offseason, while the Hawks are rumored to be looking for a shake-up in their backcourt with either [Trae] Young or Dejounte Murray being moved,” Cowley wrote on April 13, noting the similarities in the two star’s situations.  “If it is Young that’s when things can get interesting.

“Swapping the two would give the Bulls more three-point shooting – they are currently 26th in the league in three-point attempts this season – while LaVine would allow Murray to be the one true point guard and give them a more traditional two guard.”

Cowley considers a 1-for-1 swap “clean and simple,” but it is anything but for either side in this hypothetical scenario.

Both players are indeed in the second year of five-year, $215 million contracts.

LaVine also has a $48.9 million player option in the final year of his contract. Young, an early termination option of an identical value. Cowley points to the Bulls’ 29-27 record without LaVine and the Hawks’ 12-11 mark without Young to note their impact on winning.

Young, however, has led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls have one playoff appearance and win in LaVine's seven seasons.

Positional balance aside, Young is three years younger and has a far less extensive injury history than LaVine.

LaVine was lost for the season before the trade deadline.

Young’s recent 23-game absence following surgery on his finger was the longest and most substantial stint of his career. There aren’t any notable defensive advantages either, with LaVine’s affliction for poor defense as detrimental as Young’s physical stature.

With no financial gain, no significant gains on the court – the Hawks have gotten a large portion of the production the Bulls got from LaVine from Bogdan Bogdanovic as a fraction of the cost.

None of this is to say that the Hawks won’t explore their options this offseason. 

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Their rumored activity at the trade deadline would suggest as much. It does, however, bring into question just what type of package they should target if they do decide to part with one of their star guards.

After holding firm on Murray at the deadline, it’s a safe bet the Hawks would do the same with Young, who has not pushed for a trade publicly.

In fact, Young and Murray dismissed trade rumors.

But they also know that it comes with the territory, especially in a season such as this that began with plenty of promise but is even worse than last season given their place in the standings and injury situation.

An extended run in the postseason could go a long way toward quelling a lot of that. Particularly the questions about Young and Murray’s future as a duo.