The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a landing spot for a $241 million superstar guard.
In a January 25 column called “2023 NBA Trade Watch: Best Available Guards and Their Top Landing Spots,” Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus published a quote he received from an NBA source talking about Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young’s future. The source told Pincus that Young could get traded to the Lakers after this season since the All-Star is represented by Omar Wilkes of Klutch Sports Group, the same agency LeBron James and Anthony Davis are with.
“I think Trae will want out after the season,” the NBA source told Pincus. “The Hawks probably try to get out of John Collins and others by the deadline, but Trae’s a long shot. Maybe the [Lakers] in July with his ties to Klutch [Sports].”
Young, 24, signed a lucrative five-year, $215.2 million rookie maximum contract extension with the Hawks in August 2021. The Oklahoma product will have earned more than $241 million in his career once his current deal expires in 2027.
The Hawks reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. The franchise was expected to compete for the Eastern Conference crown last season, but Atlanta lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat.
After acquiring All-Star Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs last offseason, the Hawks were projected to have a bounce-back 2022-23 campaign. However, Atlanta is only 24-24.
Could Trae Young Request a Trade This Summer?
Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported on December 22 that Young could request a trade if the Hawks don’t go on a deep playoff run this season. Young is averaging 27.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 9.9 assists while shooting 42.4% from the field, 31.4% from beyond the arc and 88.9% from the free-throw line. He has 22 double-doubles, but Atlanta is only 22-21 when Young plays.
“Rival executives in attendance at the NBA’s annual G League Winter Showcase are of the belief that Atlanta Hawks star point guard Trae Young could be the next player on a rookie max extension to request a trade if the team doesn’t make inroads come postseason time,” Haynes reported. “Young, 24, is as competitive as they come and has a strong desire to win big in this league. He’s under contract through the 2026-27 season but has an early termination option after the 2025-26 season.”
Young and his head coach, Nate McMillan, may not have the best relationship, which is why some people around the NBA believe Young could ask for a trade in the offseason. Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on December 4 that Young and McMillan had a heated exchange that led to Young choosing not to attend the Hawks’ home win over the Denver Nuggets at State Farm Arena on December 2.
“While Young was receiving treatment on his right shoulder, sources say McMillan asked him whether he would participate in shootaround, receive treatment during walk-through and play in the game against the Nuggets,” Charania and Amick reported. “But Young made it clear that he wanted to focus solely on his treatment while missing shootaround and deciding later in the day whether he would play. That approach, however, was not McMillan-approved. Since the face of the Hawks’ franchise was deciding not to take part in shootaround, McMillan ultimately presented him with two options for that night’s game, sources said: Play off the bench — or do not show up to the arena. Young responded by saying he would not be playing against the Nuggets, and the team ruled him out while citing right shoulder soreness.”
The Lakers May Have Nothing to Offer the Hawks for Trae Young
The Lakers only have three players under contract for next season: James, Davis and Max Christie. Damian Jones has a player option and Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura become restricted free agents.
If Young tells the Hawks that he wants to get traded to the Lakers, the purple and gold may not have what it takes to acquire the All-NBA guard. James and Davis are untouchable in trade talks and the Hawks will require more than Jones, Christie and future draft picks in exchange for Young.
With that said, if Young makes it known behind the scenes that he wants to play for the Lakers, Los Angeles may have to wait until the 2024 trade deadline to acquire him. That’s when the LakeShow can part ways with players they sign during the 2023 free agency period.