Proposed Offseason Lakers Trade Lands Record-Breaking 3-Time All-Star

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Denver Nuggets may have served as a reminder of the gap between the two teams.

The Lakers went 9-3 in February and are now 6-3 since the trade deadline. But they are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings. They are also 17-22 against teams with winning records this season.

That reality could set the stage for a blockbuster trade this summer.

“The Lakers choosing to hold on to their 2029 first-round pick at the deadline now gives them the opportunity to go star chasing this summer,” Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz wrote on February 29. “Young could become available given the direction of the Hawks and with his free agency just two years away.”

Swartz suggests a hypothetical trade scenario in which the Lakers go all-in to land Young — who broke the Hawks’ franchise record for three-pointers on February 14– this offseason.

Lakers get:

Trae Young

Hawks get:

Austin Reaves
Rui Hachimura
Gabe Vincent
Jalen Hood-Schifino
– 2025 first-round pick
– 2027 first-round pick
– 2929 first-round pick

“Los Angeles can’t rely on LeBron James‘ scoring forever,” Swartz wrote. “Putting Young in the starting lineup with James, a premier defender in Anthony Davis and some shooters would make this one of the best opening fives in the NBA.”

Rich Paul Could ‘Push’ Trae Young to Lakers via Trade

Young, 25, is averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 assists, and 1.4 steals this season. He is sidelined for the next three-plus weeks at least after undergoing surgery on his pinky finger.

The three-time All-Star is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract.

That would put him on track for unrestricted free agency in three years. But Young has a $48.9 million early termination option for the 2026-27 season. He has affirmed his commitment to the Hawks on numerous occasions.

But Young – who owns a residence in Los Angeles – has also leaned into his desire to win when speaking publicly. The Hawks are 26-34 on the season and 2-2 since he went down.

“It wouldn’t be the first time Rich Paul and Klutch pushed a client to the Lakers,” Swartz wrote.

Both James and Davis are the most prominent examples. But the Lakers have rostered several Klutch Sports Group clients over the years, including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and, currently, Jarred Vanderbilt.

Lakers Expected to Pursue Hawks’ Trae Young This Offseason

Young is one of several star players the Lakers are expected to pursue, per The Athletic’s Jovan Buha on January 9.

He joins Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks.

Young could be the most natural fit, particularly if James leaves. And there is an outside belief that he has an interest in a trade to the Lakers.

“The Hawks’ inaction is hardly considered permanent,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on February 12. “They’ve certainly convinced various rival teams that a Dejounte In/Trae Out course is going to be legitimately considered.”

The Athletic’s Howard Beck reported on February 13 that the Hawks discussed a Young trade with the San Antonio Spurs.

Lakers brass has been reluctant to trade Reaves. And they would like to keep Hachimura. But their attempts to trade for Murray fell flat over D’Angelo Russell.

Perhaps Atlanta would take Russell back in Swartz’s scenario. Russell is a poor fit in the backcourt with Young. Getting Reaves could be enough of a centerpiece to make the endeavor worthwhile for Atlanta.