Which stars could the Hawks pair with Trae Young?

dhz191201030 wsh vs lac

The Hawks are hitting the reset button. With Trae Young in the fold, Atlanta will never be ‘rebuilding’ per se, but changes need to be made this offseason.

Travis Schlenk has already stated, “We made the decision last year to run the same group back and we probably should have tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo, The way the season ended we’re going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

The Hawks are in a great position as they remain flexible despite handing out lucrative contracts to Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Clint Capela. Schlenk should be able to trade for another star to pair with Young, and even if it’s a max-contract player, it won’t matter. Hawks majority owner Tony Ressler has made it clear they won’t be afraid to move into the luxury tax. “Going into the tax doesn’t scare us,” Ressler said.

So which stars could Schlenk potentially pair with Trae Young?

Bradley Beal

Beal is a bucket. He’s spent his entire career in the nation’s capital, pouring in impressive numbers despite losing for much of his career. Beal’s time in Washington has accumulated to two first-round playoff exits in 2018 and 2021. Even though the Wizards have failed to build a contender around him, he continues to say all the right things, mainly that he wants to build something in Washington.

Beal is 28-years-old and must be looking at the Wizards’ terrible roster and pondering his future. He’d be the co-star in Atlanta and the secondary scorer the Hawks have desperately needed when opposing teams engulf Trae Young. His defense leaves much to be desired, but Schlenk should be able to pick up defensive pieces on the free agent market to round out the roster.

Beal has the option to opt out of his contract with the Wizards and hit the open market but a sign-and-trade is much more likely. Rumors surfaced that he’s interested in joining James Harden and Joel Emiid in Philadelphia, but if the Hawks can make a play for Beal, they should.

Ben Simmons

Simmons was mentioned numerous times as a target for Atlanta during the trade deadline earlier this season, but the asking price from Philly was much too high. Could the Nets be unwilling to risk the waning years of Kevin Durant on the possibility Simmons works out? Maybe not.

Brooklyn could be looking to move off the troubled star, which would provide Schlenk with an excellent opportunity to add one of the best defenders in basketball on a cheaper deal than he previously could. The fit should be seamless. Simmons would give the Hawks a facilitator with Young off the floor and excellent perimeter defense. It would be difficult to stomach Simmons, whose confidence and time with the Sixers were ultimately destroyed by the Hawks. However, the fit in Atlanta is undeniable.

Pascal Siakam

Siakam is a high-quality shot creator that would thrive playing next to Young. He’s a fringe All-NBA talent that averaged nearly 22 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. He would look much better in Atlanta playing small forward because he already gets beat up in the post in Toronto. The Raptors have excellent defensive pieces but only a slightly above average unit because of Siakam’s lack of size at the 4. The Hawks might be hard-pressed to pry him away from the Raptors. He’s only 28, but Toronto could be looking to get younger.

Donovan Mitchell

A backcourt duo of Ice and Spida is tantalizing. It would immediately become arguably the best guard duo in the Association. Neither player has played with someone of the other’s caliber, but Mitchell is a terrible defender. Young and Mitchell would undoubtedly be explosive offensively, but adding another abysmal defender will make watching the Hawks pretty difficult. I don’t see this being likely for that reason; additionally, I see the Jazz parting ways with Rudy Gobert instead of Mitchell.

Rudy Gobert

I can’t be more clear when I say this: I DO NOT WANT RUDY GOBERT. However, there is no denying the fact that the Frenchman would make the Hawks better. If you have the chance to land one of the 30 best players in the NBA, you have to do it. Gobert is a generational defender and one of the best finishers in the Association. Despite Donovan Mitchell being an excellent scorer, he doesn’t hold a candle to Trae Young’s ability to facilitate. Gobert has never played with a point guard like him.

Much like Ben Simmons, the fit would be seamless. Each balances the other out so smoothly. The Hawks would still have to address their perimeter defense, but Gobert would make an excellent pair with Young. Still, he’s on a max contract, and he’s not that much better than Clint Capela, in my opinion — not $20 million better, at least.

Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins is an excellent scorer and good defender — exactly what the Hawks need. The Warriors might be willing to move him too because of Jordan Poole‘s emergence and the lucrative deal he’ll likely command. Wiggins earned his first All-Star selection this season after averaging 17.2 points per game while shooting 39.3% from three-point range. Given the Warriors’ tendency to play small ball, Wiggins has had more responsibility defending bigger opponents, which has to appeal to the Hawks.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
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