Rival's $11 million decision may have locked in Atlanta Hawks' path for 2024

One rival team's offseason move may have cemented the Atlanta Hawks' path for the 2024 season.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

Just like that, every one of Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young’s rumored preferred landing spots if he was traded filled their need for a point guard or were otherwise essentially removed from the running for the three-time All-Star.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on June 28 that Young had the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, and San Antonio Spurs on his list of optimal destinations.

The Hawks’ trade sending Dejounte Murray took them out of the running. 

Meanwhile, Young’s switch from Klutch Sports to rival CAA indeed makes it less likely that Young lands with the Lakers, per The Athletic’s Jovan Buha on June 29. The Lakers have also switched their attention to options like former Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson.

The Spurs seemed like the last bastion of hope for anyone believing the Hawks star would be dealt away this offseason.

That was before they signed Chris Paul, who the Warriors cut.

“Free agent star Chris Paul intends to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport,” Bleacher Report NBA insider Chris Haynes reported on X on June 30.

“Chris Paul had a great talk with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and was sold on the culture and opportunity to help elevate the game of Victor Wembanyama. CP is eager and motivated to showcase he’s still an elite guard in this league.”

Hawks star Trae Young’s rumored preferred landing spots fill PG void

Young’s rumored affinity for the Spurs surfaced at the trade deadline when his name came up in talks between San Antonio’s front office and the Hawks’ regarding Murray.

Reports of those talks surfaced amid rumors teams sensed Young could be traded this summer.

Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama was also said to be a fan of the potential pairing, but concerns over the Hawks star’s fit with the storied franchise – and their young star – seemed to put the idea on ice.

It resurfaced this offseason but Paul’s move should solidify Young stays with Atlanta this year.

He has never publicly pushed for a trade. He has expressed an explicit desire to win, though, noting that he needs the front office to be on the same page.

To that end, they have surrounded him with more length this offseason, first with rookie No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher, and then with the Murray deal bringing back standout wing defender Dyson Daniels.

Aside from Young’s desire to stay with Atlanta, there is also little market for point guards.

Two teams that could use him the most – the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic – are the Hawks’ division rivals, making them far from ideal trade partners.

The Phoenix Suns could use a true playmaking point guard, of which Young may be the best in the league. But Phoenix also lacks the requisite assets to make such a deal, both in terms of draft capital and players.

Young staying with the Hawks seemed a near-certainty with Murray’s trade.

They took a haircut on the draft capital they surrendered for Murray in 2022 rather than taking what almost certainly could have amounted to a greater return for Young.

Paul’s move all but solidifies the Hawks’ path barring a change of heart regarding the Lakers.