Best landing spots for Trae Young if Hawks trade him

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The overwhelming expectation among NBA pundits is the Hawks will trade one of Dejounte Murray or Trae Young this offseason.

A case could be made for Atlanta to build around either All-Star point guard. Murray is cheaper, more of a two-way player, and under contract for longer. Young is more dynamic offensively and has proven capable of shouldering the load when the lights are the brightest.

So, I thought it would be a perfect time to discuss potential landing spots for the latter, but not just any landing spot, the best possible scenarios for Trae Young. Not the best for the Atlanta Hawks, but the best outcome for Trae Young.

I want to preface this piece by saying I don’t want the Hawks to trade Trae Young. I prefer Atlanta to build around him because he’s capable of becoming the best player in franchise history. I think he can win a championship, but there are questions about the organization. At the end of the day, realizing his full potential may never come in Atlanta.

Miami Heat

The Heat don’t have a ton of assets I covet as Hawks fan, but this is about Trae Young, and a trio of him, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo would wreak havoc on the Eastern Conference. The Heat Culture, built by Pat Riley and continued by Erik Spoelstra, would be a perfect place for Ice Trae. I can see the ‘Fire and Ice’ memes on social media now.

Los Angeles Lakers

Much like Miami, LA doesn’t have the kind of trade packages that would interest me if I were Atlanta’s GM. However, the thought of adding Trae Young to a duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis would have any basketball fan salivating. AD is as good as any defender in the league, able to cover up Young’s deficiencies on that side of the court, while also giving the premier point guard a premier pick-and-roll partner. It doesn’t hurt that the GOAT is there either

San Antonio Spurs

Trae Young is masterful in the pick-and-roll. A combination of Young and Victor Wembanyama would drive defenses crazy. Though there are questions about Young’s fit on a Gregg Popovich-coached team, Wemby’s defensive acumen would certainly help Young’s defensive liability.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards has arrived. Though he came up short against Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, nobody is questioning his ability. At just 22 years old, few have accomplished what the Georgia native has, but he needs help. Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t enough. Trae Young and Ant would immediately form arguably the best backcourt in the NBA.

Denver Nuggets

Hear me out… Nikola Jokic and Trae Young in the Mile High City. Jamal Murray proved capable of helping the three-time MVP to a championship, but he’s not on the same level as Young as a point guard. Any Hawks trade with the Nuggets would likely have to involve a third team for Murray. The tandem of Joker and Trae might be a bit wonky because both are ball-dominant players, but the pick-and-roll game would be mind-boggling in this scenario.

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson touching the Hawks hat before the NBA Draft lottery feels like it was a lifetime ago, but there’s still time to form the greatest lob duo ever. Lob City reimagined in the Big Easy with Zion and Trae would put the Pelicans back on the map. New Orleans’ physical, defensive wings would also help alleviate a lot of concerns around Young’s defense. It would also allow CJ McCollum to shift more to a No. 2 role.

Orlando Magic

Though Orlando would be by far the least sexy landing spot for Trae Young in these hypotheticals, I may like it the best for him. The Magic’s 2023-24 campaign ended in heartbreaking fashion, losing in Game 7 to the Cavaliers, but it was a successful season that highlighted their bright future. It’s obvious they need shooting and play-making to bolster a young, talented core of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs. Trae Young would be perfect for them.

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire


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