Trae Young on staying with Hawks: “I want to be here… But…”

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In probably the least shocking development of the entire NBA season, the Hawks decided to essentially stand pat last offseason, and they ended up getting the exact same results as they did a year ago, squeaking into the play-in tournament before ultimately getting eliminated. This time around, they didn’t even get the pleasure of being bounced by the Celtics in the first round. The Bulls dominated the Hawks on Wednesday night, ending their season in what felt a lot like shooting a wounded animal out of its misery.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Hawks hoped Quin Snyder could make a significant difference over a full season, but they’d be certifiably insane to run it back with the same group next season. Wholesale changes must be made, and all eyes are on Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

The acquisition of Murray has not worked out. The fit of two ball-dominant point guards on the same team was always wonky, but I’m not sure anybody expected it to be this abysmal. The Hawks are a downright miserable basketball team when Murray and Young are on the floor together, and that’s not to say they aren’t good players. Individually, they are both All-Star caliber talents. It’s just not the right fit, and there isn’t a coach on this earth that’s going to be able to make it work.

One of them has to go, the question is — Who?

A case could be made for either player. Trae Young is undoubtedly the bigger star, one of the best point guards in the league that has already proven he can elevate a team to the Conference Finals. However, because of that, he’s also going to be much more valuable in trade conversations. If a team were to blow the Hawks away with several first-round draft picks and young players, it may make more sense to build around Dejounte Murray.

It’s not the direction I would take for several reasons. Most notably, because of the aforementioned fact that Trae Young has proven he is capable of leading a team deep into the playoffs. The Hawks have only made the Eastern Conference Finals twice since moving to Atlanta. He’s responsible for one of those, and if he doesn’t go down with an injury during the series against the Bucks, they might have gone even further, perhaps even won their first Larry O’Brien Trophy.

There is only a select group of players that could have taken that Hawks team as far as Trae Young did, and Dejounte Murray isn’t one of them. So, I would do everything I can to keep Trae Young happy, but I do understand the argument if the right deal comes across the table.

The narrative the national media has created surrounding Trae Young really is some nasty work. They attempt to portray him as some selfish, stat-padding superstar that couldn’t care less about winning as long as he’s getting his. When in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In his exit interviews on Friday, Young made sure to remind everyone of that.

The irony in the false Trae Young narratives spread across the media is that they are coming from fan bases that are also cooking up trades for the star point guard.

Well, they may finally get their wish this offseason. When Young was asked if he still wanted to continue his career in Atlanta, he did something he’d never done before, leaving the door open to the possibility of leaving.

Young has always been vocal about wanting to spend his entire career with the Hawks and bring the organization a championship. That hasn’t changed; however, for the first time, he included a “but…”

Trae Young is as competitive as any player in The Association. He wants to reach the top of the mountain, and he deserves the opportunity to play for an organization that will move mountains to help him get there. To this point, that hasn’t been the Hawks.

Under the guidance of Tony Kessler, the Hawks have done a miserable job of putting a competent supporting cast around Trae Young, one that accentuates his skill set. Beyond that, they’ve refused to go into the luxury tax year after year and ran out the best general manager this organization has ever had in Travis Schlenk.

From an organizational standpoint, the Hawks are the laughingstock of the league from top to bottom. The only reason they still have a sliver of relevance is because of Trae Young. Young deserves better, and it seems like he’s finally starting to realize it.

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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