Having lost Game 1 of their first-round matchup against the Boston Celtics, things are not looking up for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The Celtics are a formidable championship contender in the Eastern Conference, as evidenced by their second-ranked offense (118.0) and third-ranked defense (111.5). The Hawks might be able to snag a game on their home floor, but it will be hard for them to win four games against this Celtics squad. A heavy series defeat will ramp up the Trae Young trade news this summer.
Atlanta Hawks and Trae Young trade news
If the Hawks do not pull off a stunning upset against the Celtics, we might see another set of changes on their roster for next season.
Last offseason, they gave up boatloads of assets to acquire defensive-minded combo guard Dejounte Murray, but that has not paid dividends yet. Murray is putting up all-around numbers on offense (20.5 points and 6.1 assists), but the Hawks are still ranked 22nd in defensive rating (116.3).
The Hawks front office has already mixed and matched a lot in the previous years, including shuffling multiple head coaches and trying to shore up their roster with new names. There’s one glaring move that they haven’t made yet, and that is the possibility of moving superstar guard Trae Young to another team.
Should the Hawks trade Trae Young?
Through his five-year career so far, Young has notched two All-Star appearances and led the Hawks to an inspired run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021. He has averaged north of 25 points in the last four years, and his raw assist numbers keep on growing by the year.
Still, we are seeing a lot of movements in the Trae Young trade news mill. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer recently reported that the Hawks ownership had given its front office the “green light” to make whatever move they want to bolster the roster. It just might mean there could be some level of truth in Trae Young trade rumors.
But should the Hawks press the panic button and part ways with their 24-year-old All-Star? Young’s five-year, $215 million contract just kicked in this year, so he will be on the Hawks’ financial books until the 2026-27 season. Young’s offense may need more off-ball sets to mix it up, and he’s not a good defender on the other end, either.
Of course, Young and the Hawks still have time to put together a championship system. Young is often compared to a young Stephen Curry, two guards who are brilliant offensive players but present some level of liability on defense. The Golden State Warriors only figured things out in Curry’s sixth year, so there’s still hope for this Young-led Hawks squad.
These bits and pieces of Trae Young trade news could boil down to how willing the two parties are to work this one out. And if they make another trade to shake things up, what valuable assets can they offer interested teams? Young is obviously their most valuable trade asset, as there’s no way they’re moving Murray unless the deal is for a top-tier superstar.
So who could be the realistic Hawks trade targets for next season?
Two realistic Hawks trade targets for the 2023-24 season
Kyle Anderson’s name hasn’t been part of any Hawks trade rumors as of late, but it could change in the offseason. If the Minnesota Timberwolves fail to score an upset over the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs, the Wolves’ acquisition of Rudy Gobert could be one of the most one-sided NBA trades in history. This could also mean that the Wolves front office might want to shake up their roster again.
If Anderson becomes available on the trading block, the Hawks should try to pursue him. Anderson may be slow at first impression, but he’s actually calculated on both ends of the floor. His 6-foot-9 frame allows him to see plays over defenders, and he’s not shabby on the defensive end, either.
I like Anderson’s fit on the Hawks, as his court vision could encourage Young to spice up the offense with some of his off-ball movements. Anderson will earn $9.2 million during the 2023-24 season before entering unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024. His unique skill set, combined with a relatively light salary, could be a bargain for interested contenders.
John Collins could be a player that the Hawks can move in this potential deal, especially with him playing the same position as Anderson. But Collins’ trade value has dropped recently, so the Hawks front office should add more assets to entice the Wolves.
OG Anunoby’s name has been linked to the Hawks in recent years, and he should be a player that the Hawks should pursue at all costs in the offseason. Known primarily as a defensive stalwart, Anunoby has also improved a lot on offense. He is a career 37.5% shooter from three-point territory and has become a reliable source of offense for the Toronto Raptors.
If the Hawks try to pursue Anunoby, they should also remember that he has a player option for the 2024-25 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2025. Trading for a 25-year-old two-way wing like Anunoby could require a boatload of assets, so the Hawks should be confident in retaining his long-term services before making the deal.
The Trae Young trade news could stop if the Hawks acquire Anunoby and become a more balanced team on offense and defense.