Former All-NBA Playmaker Name Dropped as ‘Ambitious’ Trade Target for Nets

Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Head coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

In his exit interview, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn noted the need for more “downhill” options.

Brooklyn could look into finding that option in Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young.

“Rumblings about [Young’s] future in Atlanta persisted through the end of the season,” wrote Dan Favale of Bleacher Report in a May 20 article identifying ‘ambitious’ trade targets for every team. “if they do decide to shop him, Brooklyn has a gaping hole at the point of attack and plenty of assets to peddle.”

Favale notes the Nets’ plethora of draft capital – they have four firsts from the Phoenix Suns and one each from the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. But they do not have control of their own draft picks spurring their possibility of another star chase.

There is a growing belief the Nets will do just that this offseason with a roster that is stocked at the wing positions.

“Many throughout the league…believe the Nets are likely to move one of those picks in a trade to find either a proven scorer or rebounder,” wrote Brian Lewis of the New York Post on May 20. “But others have suggested the team could pare down their stock of 3-and-D wings to help balance out their roster.”

Young, 24, led the NBA in total points in 2021-22 (ninth this past season), was an All-NBA selection that season, and would certainly qualify as a “proven scorer”.

He is also the back-to-back leader in total assists and has one of the hardest paint games for defenses to stop between his floater and ability to find teammates on lob passes which would satisfy Vaughn’s desire for a downhill threat.

Young averaged 27.1 points and a career-high 10.2 assists per game this past season adding 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals.

He struggled with his deep ball during the regular season.

His 33.5% mark from deep was the second-worst of his career only ahead of his rookie season when he shot 32.4% on threes. However, Young’s 33.3% mark on threes in the postseason was a playoff-career high and he knocked down 36.6% of his deep looks over the final four games of the Hawks’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics.

Trading for Trae Young Could Get Complicated

The Nets have the defensive structure to surrender a package of Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale – both of whom are on the trading block, per Lewis, and were listed as potential options to entice Atlanta by Favale – plus whatever other picks Atlanta asks for.

Brooklyn could also find the opportunity to unload Ben Simmons who Atlanta previously showed an interest in trading for.

Nets get:

– Trae Young
Bogdan Bogdanovic

Hawks get:

– Dorian Finney-Smith
– Royce O’Neale
– Ben Simmons

Simmons’ current injured status is just one of many complications making this an unlikely transaction and certainly “ambitious”.

“The Hawks aren’t obligated to trade [Young]. He has another three years before he’s eligible to hit free agency,” Favale notes, adding, “Whether the Nets can poach Young without forking over Bridges himself is debatable.”

Young is heading into the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract.

Adding the 30-year-old Bogdanovic (four years, $68 million) helps make the money work and gives the Nets another reliable, albeit streaky scorer off the bench.

Nets Could Practice Patience

It is important to note that Lewis’ report noted the Hawks would pursue a “proven” scorer, not necessarily a star and certainly not one of Young’s caliber. This would fit with Nets general manager Sean Marks’ comments from his end-of-season media availability about letting this group breathe after they got roughly 30 games together after the trade deadline.

Still, Brooklyn is at an undeniable crossroads with the current roster looking like a tough matchup but far from a title contender after getting swept in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row, this time by the Philadelphia 76ers.

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