$215 Million Playmaker Still on Lakers’ Trade ‘Radar’

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers turned their season around with an aggressive makeover in 2022-23, and they don’t seem content to rest on their laurels.

“The Lakers have pursued other star guards,” wrote Jovan Buhan of The Athletic on August 31. “Trae Young has long been on Los Angeles’ radar, depending on how his situation unfolds in Atlanta.”

Young and the Hawks are coming off a 41-41 season in which they changed up their front office and remade their coaching staff with former Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. They have also been bounced from the playoffs in the first round each of the last two years while Young has been floated as potentially the next star player to force a trade.

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

But he has a $48.9 million early termination option for the 2026-26 season, and there is a belief the Hawks may need to retool.

“Unfortunately, shipping out John Collins was not nearly enough to get the Hawks out of their salary predicament,” wrote Danny Leroux of The Athletic on August 28. “Expect Hawks GM Landry Fields to have to offload at least one more big-ticket player over the next year-plus.”

The Lakers re-signed D’Angelo Russell to a two-year, $36 million contract this offseason and added Gabe Vincent on a three-year, $33 million contract in free agency. They also have Austin Reaves – retained on a four-year, $53.8 million contract – and LeBron James on hand, both of whom figure to have the ball in their hands a lot.

Los Angeles can put together an offer should the two-time All-Star become available.

Proposed Trade Lands Trae Young on Lakers

The Lakers can afford to wait for further clarification on Young’s situation because their best salary-matching assets – Russell and Rui Hachimura – cannot be traded until December 15 since they signed this offseason.

Lakers get:

– Trae Young

Hawks get:

– Rui Hachimura
– D’Angelo Russell
– 2026 first-round pick swap
– 2029 first-round pick
– 2030 first-round pick swap

Young, 24, averaged 26.2 points per game last season, adding 10.2 assists and leading the league in total assists for the second straight season. He shot 33.5% from deep for the season. But connected on 37.1% of those looks from the trade deadline through the end of the regular season.

He also owns a home in Los Angeles and shares the same representation as James and Anthony Davis: Klutch Sports.

Hawks’ Trae Young Has Denied Lakers Trade Rumors

Young attended Game 6 of the Lakers’ second-round series against the Golden State Warriors and Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, causing a stir on social media.

But he cleared that up pointing out that he has long frequented games and that his friend, Michael Porter Jr., plays for the Nuggets.

“I mean I’ve been to a lot of games before throughout my years,” Young said on the “From The Point by Trae Young” podcast on June 1. “I’ve always been a fan of the game. So I’m always at a lot of games watching. Most of the time I got a friend playing that I’m really there watching.”

For now, Young has not pushed to get out of Atlanta. But the Lakers are keeping tabs on the situation nonetheless.

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