But they are not the only ones.
For the Atlanta Hawks, it has been a year of changes from last offseason’s blockbuster bringing in Dejounte Murray to their coaching and front office changes during the 2022-23 season. But Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report has a scenario in which the Bulls “break bank” for Trae Young.
“[Trae] Young might be one of the most productive players in the Association, but he hasn’t been spared from the rumor mill,” Buckley wrote on September 2. “Those rumblings could increase in volume if the Hawks are slow out of the gate this season, especially if coach Quin Snyder concludes this defense … can’t be fixed so long as the undersized point guard is on the roster.
“If Young ever hit the trade market, the Bulls should be all over him.”
– Trae Young
– Garrison Mathews
Young averaged 26.2 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, leading the NBA in total assists for the second year in a row. Despite those numbers, Young failed to garner All-Star or All-NBA honors last season as he shot just 33.5% from beyond the arc in an admittedly poor shooting season.
But he shot 37.1% from the trade deadline through the end of the regular season and, after going 3-for-13 over the Hawks’ first two playoff games, Young shot 15-for-41 (36.6%) from deep in Games 3 through 6.
The former No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Young is heading into the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract.
His Hawks have capped out as average defensively but the Bulls have defenders to cover for him.
“Bring Young to the Windy City, and the Bulls might bury the opposition under a pile of points,” Buckley continued. “The Hawks, meanwhile, might envision … making Dejounte Murray, a dynamic defender with near-star numbers on offense, the franchise centerpiece.”
Buckley’s caveat of a slow start is key.
No Real Signs Hawks Plan on Trading Young
There have been no real signs the Hawks – or Young – are planning a split now or in the near future. Buckley points to a report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer who said the Hawks front office had the “green light” to explore trades for the two-time All-Star.
But that report was based on comments from ownership in which Hawks governor Tony Ressler also professed his affinity for Young.
He did give general manager Landry Fields and the front office full control over roster decisions.
“Trae is an incredible player,” Ressler said on “Dukes and Bell” in March. “But, when it comes to how and which players to talk about and the basketball – what we’re trying to achieve on the floor, what we’re trying to build – that’s what Landry, that’s what [assistant general manager Kyle Korver], that’s what [head coach Quin Snyder], and frankly, that what the players should be talking about. But, if you’re asking me am I’m a fan of Trae Young, he’s extraordinary. ”
Since then, Young has professed his desire to bring a championship to Atlanta alongside Murray with whom he shares a birthday and was highly influential in bringing to Atlanta. The two have also been working out at team facilities ahead of training camp.
The Hawks were 41-41 last season. They went 10-11 with Snyder who took over after the All-Star break before falling to the Boston Celtics in six games in the playoffs.
This offseason, they unloaded big man John Collins in a cost-cutting move and Danny Leroux of The Athletic predicted the Hawks will need to unload at least one more hefty contract by next season to satisfy ownership, though he left the door open for a fast start to reverse those plans. And Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter are the two Hawks most involved in trade rumors.
The Hawks’ start might need to be disastrous to trade Young in-season barring a request.
Bulls’ Assets More Valuable to Chicago
This deal would certainly help the Bulls who get off the remaining two years and $51.8 million of Ball’s contract as he works his way back from a knee injury that already cost him most of the 2021-22 season and all of the 2022-23 campaign. Ball will also be sidelined for the entirety of the 2023-24 season if not longer, making his inclusion solely for salary-matching purposes.
White re-signed on a three-year, $36 million contract in free agency while Williams is heading for restricted free agency after the season. Both can contribute, though neither has been particularly consistent in their respective careers.
A fast start from either player would also figure to make them even more valuable to the Bulls’ front office which has already held a high value on its players in previous trade talks.