— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 28, 2023
The younger James was mocked to the Hawks at pick No. 17, and while it’s extremely early to be thinking about the 2024 NBA Draft, it’s clear the elder James wants a chance to play with his son.
Young, the Hawks’ star point guard, seems to be excited about the idea that he’d get to share the court with the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
For Lakers fans, it’s a little disappointing, but it can be expected based on how the elder James’ contract is structured.
The four-time champion is under contract for the 2023-24 season and then has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign. That allows him the ability to opt out of his deal following the 2023-24 season.
Since the 2024 NBA Draft is before free agency (like it is every season), the elder James will know which team selects his son before he has to make a decision on where to play in the 2024-25 season.
The Lakers could always attempt to draft or trade for the younger James, but it’s hard to see a team willingly moving off the youngster if there is a promise that the elder James will come play for the franchise.
Young and the Hawks have had a few disappointing seasons after making the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2020-21 campaign. Atlanta has made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons by way of the play-in tournament, but it doesn’t have much to show for it.
The team’s core has changed a bunch since making the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2020-21 season as well. Guard Dejounte Murray has joined Young in the backcourt while forward John Collins was traded this offseason to the Utah Jazz in an effort to shed salary.
It’s possible that drafting the younger James could be the perfect recipe to bring Atlanta back into contention as early as the 2024-25 season.