Trae Young-to-Lakers rumors will intensify after latest from NBA insider

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The latest scoop from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon is sure to ramp up the rumors connecting Atlanta Hawks floor general Trae Young to the iconic Los Angeles Lakers franchise.

“So, to me, the Hawks thing is interesting because it’s only recently there have been legitimate — whatever, let me think how I wanna phrase this — rumblings about the possibility of Trae Young actually being traded,” MacMahon said. “Only recently has that been something that you would even think would be a consideration for the Hawks.”

Jovan Buha of The Athletic recently cited Young as the “most realistic” star trade target for the Lakers in the offseason.

“Yes, they are,” Buha said when asked if the Lakers are going to chase a third star. “And I can confirm that from multiple sources. They are going third-star hunting this offseason. And we’ll see how that affects the D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell) situation. We’ll see how — you probably have to give up Austin [Reaves] in almost any…third-star trade. … Now, who’s available? The one name I continually hear is Trae Young. He’s been to Laker playoff games before. He’s a Klutch Sports client. That’s probably the most realistic one right now.”

Young has been connected to the Lakers on far more than one occasion. Back in August, a report — also from Buha — emerged that Los Angeles has had Young on its radar for quite some time.

“Trae Young has long been on Los Angeles’ radar, depending on how his situation unfolds in Atlanta,” Buha wrote.

While Young isn’t likely to wow folks with his defensive chops, he is widely considered one of the most talented offensive players at his position in the NBA. He averages the most points per game of any player on the Hawks at 26.4 while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from 3-point range.

Additionally, he is dishing out a career-high 10.8 assists per game so far in the 2023-24 regular season, his sixth season in the NBA and with the Hawks franchise.

But in an interesting turn of events, the Hawks have picked up victories in five of their last six games, all without Young in the lineup. During the stretch in question, Atlanta won two games against the Boston Celtics, who own the league’s top record at 59-16 and haven’t lost more than two games in a row all season.

The Hawks’ lone loss since falling to the Phoenix Suns on March 21 came against the Milwaukee Bucks — who own a 6-4 record over their past 10 contests — on March 30.

But despite the team’s productive play of late, Atlanta is still a ways away from a top-eight seed in the Eastern Conference standings. At 35-40, the Hawks are five games back of the Philadelphia 76ers, who sit as the No. 8 seed in the conference.

Lakers fans might want the Hawks to miss out on the playoffs, because if they do, that theoretically should only increase the chances of the team trading Young to Los Angeles or elsewhere by the time the offseason rolls around.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.