Trae Young puts Hawks on notice amid new round of trade speculation

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young sent a clear message to the front office about his future amid a new round of trade speculation.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young is expected to be one of the more intriguing names that could be available in a trade this offseason.

Young’s name first popped up in the rumor mill as a potential trade candidate following the 2022-23 after he showed up with Klutch Sports superagent Rich Paul at a playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and potential landing spot, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Young and co-star Dejounte Murray eschewed trade rumors before the season ended.

However, Young seemed to re-open the discussion with comments about wanting to win during his exit interview. Given a chance to expound no his previous statement, Young doubled down.

“It means what it means,” Young said on the “From The Point” podcast on April 30. “Everybody knows, obviously, I want to be in Atlanta. When I was drafted, that’s where I wanted to spend my whole career. But at the same time, I want to win. So if we’re not on the same page wanting to win now...

“There’s times teams want to take their time, be slow with winning, their process. It’s just, I’m not there anymore. I want to win, and I’ve always been that way, so. I don’t feel like I have very much time to waste. I just want to continue to play at a high level, and I feel like I can do that: play at a high level and win.

“That’s all I was really reiterating is I want to win.”

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While the comments are in line with Young’s previous remarks, his emphasis on the winning aspect of wanting to remain in Atlanta has become noticeably stronger with each mention of his situation.

“Obviously, I want to be here. I mean I want to be here, but I want to win too,” Young told reporters on April 19. “So, obviously, I've said that since I've been here: I wanted – want to be here, I want to win championships here, and do that. But I want to win so that's pretty much all it is for me. That's my motto and that's been me from the beginning.

“I believe it can be here. We got to make it happen.”

This reassertion comes on the heels of a report that Young – who is entering the third season of a five-year,  $215.1 million contract – could be a name the Lakers target this offseason.

“There are opportunities for them, not necessarily in free agency, but via trade,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on “Get Up!” on April 30. “Now, what player would that be? Well, we’ll have to see how the season ends for star players across the league.

“I think one name that you will hear as we get into this, is Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks may look to break up their backcourt of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young. The Lakers were interested in trading for Dejounte Murray during this last season. Trae is the type of player that I think multiple teams will have an interest in if the Hawks decide to make the move.”

The Hawks’ decision is the greatest unknown.

General Manager Landry Fields has been imbued with the power to do with the roster what he must in comments from ownership that initially stirred the pot on Young trade speculation.

Reports of the Hawks’ willingness to at least explore their options with Young took a sharp upturn this season even compared to those misconstrued comments that emerged from the abrupt front office regime change in 2022-23.

Young’s stance certainly puts the onus on the team to make the final call.