$215 Million All-Star Would ‘Welcome’ Trade to Lakers, Insider Says

Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the NBA trade deadline just over one week away, the chatter around the Los Angeles Lakers has taken many twists and turns. But sitting out this transaction period could be a wise decision.

“If they keep their powder dry, they’ll have more tradable picks in July,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote on January 30. “Three firsts and three swaps, on top of all the player assets they have. That’d be enough pieces to put them in the running for a long list of possibilities. Trae Young would likely welcome a trade to Los Angeles at any time.”

Young, 25, is having a strong season statistically for the Atlanta Hawks, though the team is just 20-27. He is averaging 27.0 points, 10.9 steals, and a career-high 1.4 steals per game.

His 36.8% mark from downtown is the second-highest of his career.

Young is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract. He also has connections to the Lakers, sharing representation by Klutch Sports Group with a trio of players already on the roster. Most notable among them are LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

A two-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA selection, Young is also a long-time Lakers target.

“Trae Young has long been on Los Angeles’ radar, depending on how his situation unfolds in Atlanta,” The Athletic’s Jovan Buha wrote on August 31.

Hawks’ Trae Young Wants to Win a Championship in Atlanta

Buha’s note on Young’s situation could be the biggest hiccup in the entire ordeal if the Lakers are truly hoping he is made available for trade. First, Young has been clear about his desire to bring a championship to Atlanta.

The Hawks also want to build around Young, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft for whom they traded Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks.

“Atlanta is determined to … ‘build around Trae and Jalen Johnson’ going forward,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on January 5. ”[Dejounte] Murray, De’Andre Hunter and Clint Capela, most notably, are all available in potential trades … and with sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanović expected to generate as much external interest as any current Hawk.”

Despite that interest, including by the Lakers in Murray, both he and Bogdanovic could be staying put. Their recent play has encouraged the front office to rethink their plans.

Hawks head coach Quin Snyder has pushed to keep Murray, per Stein on January 29.

Hawks Fans Taunt D’Angelo Russell in Lakers’ Loss

Part of the hangup in the Lakers’ potential trade for Murray was Atlanta’s resistance to taking on D’Angelo Russell. He has an $18.5 million player option in the second year of a two-year, $36 million contract.

His defensive deficiencies also make him a poor backcourt mate for Young

Perhaps most damning, Russell was jeered with chants of “we don’t want you” from the fans in attendance.

Fortunately for Russell, his recent stretch of strong play led Lakers brass to raise their expectation for the return in any trade for the two-time Lakers guard. Of course, he laid an egg versus the Hawks. He finished with nine points on 27.3% shooting including going 1-for-5 from beyond the arc.