Like every NBA offseason, this summer is going to be a soap opera. Superstars will be on the move again, and the Hawks could be right in the middle of it for the second year in a row. Last season, they made the blockbuster trade to acquire Dejounte Murray. Unfortunately, that hasn’t panned out as the Hawks initially hoped. Murray has had a pretty good season, but at the end of the day, Atlanta is staring at a very similar fate — a beating in the first round at the hands of a far superior team.
There’s no way the Hawks can go into the next season with the same core. Significant changes are needed if they want to take the next step, and one name to keep an eye on is Damian Lillard. According to long-time NBA analyst Frank Isola, he believes the Trail Blazers’ superstar point guard will finally be on the move this offseason and named the Hawks as a potential fit.
“I think he’s gonna be on the move. I think he’s gonna end up in the eastern conference.”
– @TheFrankIsola mentions Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Toronto and Brooklyn as potential landing spots for Damian Lillard pic.twitter.com/Dr2htqSRDv
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 24, 2023
Lillard is arguably the most loyal player in the league. Portland hasn’t done nearly enough around him to be competitive, and yet he’s been hesitant to ever even hint that he might prefer a trade. Lillard would like to stay with the Trail Blazers and win, but he has to finally be considering other options. And if he demands a trade, it seems likely Portland will oblige. This is a marriage that needs to end, but Lillard doesn’t exactly offer anything the Hawks don’t currently have on their roster.
The last thing Atlanta needs is another ball dominant point guard in their backcourt. However, if any deal were to come to fruition between the two, it’s fair to expect Trae Young would go back in return.
That would be an interesting deal, and it could be something both sides find compelling. I think Lillard and Murray could work much better than the Hawks current backcourt duo, and I’m not sure Portland could find a deal better than one that involved Trae Young.
However, would it really be wise for the Hawks to give up on Young so early? He’s eight years younger and has already accomplished just as much as Lillard to this point in their respective careers. I would rather stick things out with Young, even if it has been a bumpy ride over the first five years of his career, but expect the Hawks to explore all of their options regardless.
Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire
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