May 26, 2024

Los Angeles Lakers Can Land Trae Young As Their Third Star In A Blockbuster Trade Proposal

The Lakers’ slow start to the season could see them explore Trae Young as a blockbuster addition.

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to their worst loss of the season last night, as the Houston Rockets blew them out of the water without Anthony Davis on the floor. Their over-reliance on Davis and LeBron James has been extremely concerning, with the team already falling to a 3-5 record to open the year. Losses to the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets weren’t in the plan for the Lakers who need to keep pace with a very tough Western Conference. From the looks of it, the team is already preparing to add a third star to remedy their issues.

In the East, the Atlanta Hawks have had a terrific start to the season. After losing their first two games, the Hawks bounced back with four straight wins. They’re looking great, with Jalen Johnson emerging as a frontrunner for Most Improved Player in John Collins’ absence. However, superstar guard Trae Young has actively been hurting the team with his poor shooting. They’ve been better with him off the floor through the early goings of the season, a worrying trend for a star who had a tough 2022-23 season.

The Hawks have a great direction that they could execute without Trae if needed, which could make him the perfect star for the Lakers to target.

Trade Details:

Atlanta Hawks Receive: D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, 2028 First-Round Pick Swap (LAL), 2029 First-Round Pick (LAL)

Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Trae Young

There are natural concerns from both sides about such a high-risk trade, but it could work out for both franchises when you look deeper into what it could lead to.

The Hawks Move On To Build A Sustainable Franchise

Over the last few seasons, Trae Young emerged as one of the best young guards in the NBA. However, he has a very specific style that requires players to adjust to him and for the Hawks to build a specifically complementary roster. Does he excel at offense alone at a championship level for the Hawks to build around him? It seemed to be the case, but the drop-off in recent seasons has been concerning.

D’Angelo Russell has a proven track record in the NBA and is averaging 17.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists so far this season. People will watch his game and always want him to provide more than what he realistically can do consistently, but the start of the season shows he can be a starting point guard on a contending roster.

Russell is good for 15-20 points a game, can play on and off the ball, and has taken some defensive strides since joining the Lakers. Gabe Vincent also provides utility guard play or could be further moved for another piece.

Rui Hachimura reminded everyone in the league why he has lottery-pick potential still in his short stint of playing meaningful basketball with the Lakers. The Hawks do have question marks at their power forward position. Even though the emergence of Jalen Johnson has helped, adding another piece like Hachimura would solidify their strength to make the playoffs in the East.

Trae Young has shown a concerning drop in recent seasons, but his star potential can’t just be forgotten. That’s why the Lakers have to pay the price of three rotational players and two picks. it not only helps them in their plan to win now but also sets them up for the inevitable LeBron James departure, whether it happens through retirement or so that he can be teammates with his son.

Anthony Davis is signed up for the long haul, and the Lakers would love to pair him up long-term with a guard like Young. Trae is averaging 21.7 points and 10.4 assists on 33.6% shooting from the field and 27.3% from three this season with a career-high in turnovers (4.3 per game), so this is a risk.

Given the toxicity of the Hawks’ situation with the multiple coaches Young has fallen out with, there may have come a point where they should split paths to unravel their full potential. Dejounte Murray has looked great to start the season, so moving Trae to the Lakers and adding D’Angelo could serve the purposes of both teams.

The Lakers will be thinner at the forward line, but we haven’t even seen Jarred Vanderbilt play this season yet. With him, LeBron, and Taurean Prince, the Lakers have the bones of a forward rotation which could also open up opportunity for Christian Wood at the four alongside Anthony Davis. With Young’s playmaking chops, the Lakers can finally have the point guard option they can rely on to conserve LeBron and have him continue playing the off-ball role we’ve seen him weave into his game.

A Tough Deal For Both Sides Could Yield Great Results

The Hawks can continue waiting to maximize Trae Young, but it’s clear they’ve built something that could work without him. Dejounte Murray has been showing flashes of the All-Star guard we saw in San Antonio and could be the starting point guard for the franchise. He’s still just 27 years old, so it’s not like he also doesn’t have room to grow. Pairing him with D’Angelo Russell would be great for the Hawks, especially since they also get a backup guard in Vincent and a forward in Hachimura. This deal makes them a better-rounded roster and gives them assets for future deals, possibly committing to a Pascal Siakam pursuit with the picks they acquire from LA.

The Lakers saw that having depth can lead to success in the 2022 Playoffs, but that philosophy isn’t holding right now. LeBron and AD have proven time and again that they can’t carry the load through 82 games and the playoffs. Young is young and durable enough to give them a bonafide No. 1 option for large stretches of the season. The presence of a pick-and-roll threat like AD would further unlock his playmaking, and he would have a better system to play off-ball within, as LeBron can unlock easier shots for Trae.

Trae’s personality does show he would be a box-office attraction in LA, but this isn’t an easy deal for either team to accept. But sometimes, in the NBA, the best results are born out of the biggest risks.

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