The Hawks have lost five straight and seven of their last eight. They sit five games under .500 and 11th in the Eastern Conference. At best, this is a team that will make the play-in tournament for the third consecutive season, and even that’s not a guarantee at this point.
For a team that was in the Eastern Conference Finals just a couple of years ago, things have gone about as poorly as possible since that moment. The Hawks have made very few adjustments, and the one big splash they did make — acquiring Dejounte Murray in a trade with the Spurs — hasn’t netted them better results.
A major shakeup is long overdue, and according to NBA analyst and insider Zach Lowe, it’s going to come before this season’s trade deadline in a couple of months.
“They’re going to look different after the trade deadline, and maybe in a big way.”
– @ZachLowe_NBA on the Atlanta Hawks
— Seth Lundy Muse (@Joe_Schmidt07) December 15, 2023
So far, the Hawks have been linked to a couple of All-Stars that could be moved in Pascal Siakam and Lauri Markkanen. One of them (Siakam) is a lot more likely to be moved than the other, but frankly, neither is going to be enough to make the Hawks competitive in the Eastern Conference. This is a team that needs to take a hard look in the mirror at who they are and decide who they want to keep and who they build around.
To this point, Trae Young hasn’t been brought up in any trade rumors. The Hawks star point guard has played splendidly of late and continues to be the one thing giving the Hawks some semblance of hope, but one has to wonder how much longer he will tolerate this level of underachievement. If Atlanta goes the full rebuild route, it’s very possible they move off one of the greatest players in franchise history before he really even hits his prime.
That would be a colossal organizational failure and an incredibly difficult pill to swallow. The Hawks will likely exhaust every other avenue before exploring a Trae Young trade, but it does feel like they are running out of options, and eventually, he could end up forcing their hand.
Photo: Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire