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The 3 Best Suitors for a Trae Young Trade

Trae Young trade rumors are the talk of the NBA

It’s rare that a rebuilding team fails so spectacularly that they’re forced to trade their centerpiece, but here we are. The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly receiving offers for a potential Trae Young trade.

Atlanta is once again drifting aimlessly, mired in mediocrity both in the present and for the foreseeable future. At 24-31, they sit 10th in the East, 6.5 games back of a top-6 guaranteed playoff seed. Barring an unforeseen, miraculous second-half run, Atlanta will be on the outside looking in come playoff time. That finish would be yet another step backward for a young team coming off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance just three seasons ago.

Unsurprisingly, the Hawks’ struggles have given way to trade rumors galore. The team is littered with talented (albeit flawed) players, and seemingly the entire roster qualifies as attractive trade candidates. This includes star point guard Trae Young, who Atlanta acquired from Dallas in a 2018 draft day swap for Luka Doncic. Often characterized as a “one-man offense”, the 6’1″ Young is a dynamic offensive player who scores at every level. He pairs his shot-making with elite shot-creating – Young is often seen dishing out behind-the-back dimes or half-court lobs.

Trae Young is not without his flaws, and critics are quick to point that out. His defense is abysmal, and his efficiency is iffy. People will criticize his “impact” – yes, his numbers are gaudy, but does he really drive winning? There are legitimate doubts about whether a player of his style can exist on a championship team. He’s limited, as most 6’1″, 165 lb guys are, and he’s owed over $45 million a year until 2027. Even with his issues, there will undoubtedly be a wide market for Young. Without further ado:

The 3 Best Suitors for a Trae Young Trade

San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio is far and away the most obvious destination for a Trae Young trade. They’re youthful, talented, asset-rich, and they have a gaping hole at the point guard position. Additionally, and most importantly, they have the perfect co-star in the celestially talented 7’4″ Victor Wembanyama. Not only is he ideally suited for catching Young’s lobs, but he can also provide the rim protection needed to help cover up Young’s defensive shortcomings. Outside of Wemby, Trae’s elite playmaking figures to fit in nicely as well. Developing players such as Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson will benefit greatly from his ability to set up open shots as they continue to blossom.

Elsewhere, Gregg Popovich can mold Young into a more efficient, team-oriented player. He has experience coaching some of the most talented rosters in NBA history – names such as David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Kawhi Leonard all became the best versions of themselves learning from Pop. Finally, San Antonio has the funds for Young – hefty salaries such as Marcus Morris Sr. and Cedi Osman will come off the books this offseason, with Devonte Graham soon to follow. Overall, it’s about as ideal of a situation as you could picture for both player and team.

Potential offer: Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham, Zach Collins, Devonte Graham, 2025 FRP (via CHI, 1-10 protected), 2027 FRP (via ATL), 2028 FRP (via BOS), 2026 SRP (via UTA) for Trae Young, 2026 SRP (via MEM, 31-42 protected)

Brooklyn Nets

If Brooklyn is serious about building around Mikal Bridges (whether they should be or not is up for debate), it’s time to find him a co-star. The Nets are in the throes of an awful year – they have no identity, and they lack a true focal point offensively. Swinging a Trae Young trade solves both of those issues instantaneously. From day one, Young’s presence elevates Brooklyn to a top-tier offense. Placing him in an offense with as much shooting as the Nets is a dream for the modern NBA fan. On the other end, guys such as Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Nic Claxton can theoretically do enough to hide Young. The Nets currently have no coach, so it’s not easy to project how Trae’s style might mesh. It’s hard to argue with his offensive output, though, and he’d be the star for a team that desperately needs one.

Whether Trae, Mikal, and the supporting cast are good enough to seriously compete is open for dialogue. I’d say no; there are a thousand issues that instantly come to mind if Brooklyn makes a Trae trade. The roster as is with Young added probably isn’t good enough to really threaten the Eastern hierarchy, and the assets squandered in such a deal would cripple the Nets moving forward. However, if Brooklyn really believes in Bridges, they have to get him a star. The Nets have the assets and the situation to trade for Young, and they’d make a nice pairing. There’s always something to be said for getting better and acquiring Young absolutely achieves that.

Potential offer: Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas, Trendon Watford, 2027 FRP (via PHI), 2027 FRP, 2029 FRP (via DAL) for Trae Young, AJ Griffin, 2027 SRP (via LAC)

Orlando Magic

There has been nothing substantive linking Trae Young to the Orlando Magic. I don’t care, and I’m undeterred in my belief that Orlando is a perfect landing spot for Trae. Currently, the Magic are in playoff contention as a solid young team buoyed by a stout (top 7!) defense. You have to play both sides, though, and their offense leaves something to be desired. As good as Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner have been, they’re not superstar-level offensive players, and there’s nowhere near enough talent around them to make up for that. The spacing is dismal, and they can go long spells without scoring.

Trae Young fixes that issue. He’s a perfect complement to their current roster; plugging him into lineups alongside Paolo and/or Franz makes sweet music. All of a sudden, Orlando can field a legitimate NBA offense, and on the other side? The Magic have a bevy of long, agile defenders that can make Young’s life much easier. Add a 3-and-D prospect (AJ Griffin?), and Orlando goes from a cute story at the bottom of the Eastern playoff picture to a well-rounded competitor. Not to mention, all of Young, Banchero, and Wagner are 25 or under. Not only are they ready to compete in 2024-25, but the Magic would have a formidable Big 3 going forward.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Orlando isn’t particularly loaded with assets, and emptying the chamber for a player with Young’s flaws is a massive gamble. However, luring a superstar to North Florida in free agency is unlikely, and the Magic have been stuck in neutral since Shaquille O’Neal fled to Hollywood. Yes, a Trae Young trade is a swing for the fences, but singles only get you so far.

Potential offer: Anthony Black, Cole Anthony, Mo Wagner, Joe Ingles, 2024 FRP, 2026 FRP (via PHX or WAS), 2028 FRP for Trae Young, AJ Griffin, 2027 SRP (via LAC), 2028 SRP (via MEM protected 31-42)

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