ESPN Analyst Suggests the Atlanta Hawks Should Take This Bold Approach In The Offseason

What will the Atlanta Hawks do During This Offseason?
Apr 17, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Javonte Green (24) defends Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the second half during a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Javonte Green (24) defends Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the second half during a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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With the Boston Celtics winning their 18th NBA Championship, the NBA offseason has officially begun for every team around the league, but for most teams, it has been going on for quite a while. One of those teams is the Atlanta Hawks, who were eliminated in the NBA Play-In Tournament by the Chicago Bulls. The Hawks then shockingly won the Draft Lottery, giving them the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but they still have plenty of questions to answer. What happens with the Trae Young/Dejounte Murray backcourt? Do the Hawks trade other veteran players such as Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and De'Andre Hunter? General Manager Landry Fields has a lot of work to do this offseason, starting next Wednesday.

So what should the Atlanta Hawks do this offseason? In a new article for ESPN, NBA analyst Chris Herring says the Hawks should look to move Young (potentially to the Lakers) and have a youth movement centered around Dejounte Murray and the new No. 1 pick:

"The middling Hawks need to meaningfully commit to a direction. The one they should take: Embrace a youth movement and build around whoever they take with the draft's No. 1 pick, while moving off of 25-year-old Trae Young, who's served as the face of the franchise since 2018. Atlanta could once again seek to engage the Lakers, who would have to part ways with picks, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and one of Gabe Vincent or Jarred Vanderbilt to make the deal work.

The No. 1 pick in this draft is nothing like Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in last year's class. But dealing away Young and handing the reins to Dejounte Murray and whoever the Hawks take with the top pick would allow them to take on more of a defensive identity and avoid the challenges that come with building a defense around Young's shortcomings on that end."

So I would disagree with this approach for a number of reasons. Young is not only a better player than Murray, he is also younger. Saying the Hawks should embrace a youth movement by trading away Young does not make a lot of sense. Trae Young is not a perfect player and has defensive shortcomings, but Atlanta's ceiling is higher with him running the show. Also, while there are going to be impact players in this draft, this is also perceived to be a weak draft so saying Atlanta should be building around whoever the No. 1 pick is and Murray does not make a ton of sense. While Murray is a really good player, the Hawks ceiling is limited with him as the best player. Atlanta's hope in that scenario would be to hope that either Jalen Johnson or the No. 1 pick makes a huge leap and becomes a star player. With Murray at the helm, it feels like the Hawks ceiling might be a play-in team, which is no different than what they already are. Atlanta also can't go into a full rebuild because the Spurs own their draft picks for the next three years. Unless the Spurs can give the Hawks their picks back, it makes zero sense to go into a full rebuild.

The other thing is the deal to the Lakers.

I still think Young will remain in Atlanta when all is said and done this summer. It seems that Atlanta is heading towards breaking up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray, but that could mean that Murray is the one who is traded. Atlanta was shopping Murray this season, including to the Lakers. There have been numerous reports from "Rival Executives" about the Hawks possibly trading Trae Young, but nothing from Young or the Hawks themselves.

If Atlanta does make Young available, there will be more teams than the Lakers that will try to trade for Young. I think other teams can also a lot more for Young than the Lakers can.

When looking at a potential trade, it is hard to get fired up if you are the Hawks about what the Lakers could offer outside of some draft picks. Austin Reaves is an intriguing player, but should not be the centerpiece of a deal for a player the caliber of Trae Young. I don't think this is the kind of trade that the Hawks should make. The picks are too far in the future and with Young on the Lakers, he at least gives them a high floor where they won't be among the worst teams in the league, making those picks less valuable. Reaves and Hachimura would just be role players alongside Murray and whoever the Hawks select at No. 1.

On ESPN's Get Up the night after the Lakers went down in the playoffs, ESPN's Brian Windhorst brought up Young as a trade target for the Lakers this offseason.

"There are opportunities for them, not necessarily in free agency, but via trade. They will have up to three first round picks that they can trade, starting on draft night, including this years first round pick if they want to and they have some pieces on their roster that they can use in trade. Now, what player would that be? Well, we will have to see what happens with star players as the season ends across the league. I think one name that you will hear as we get into this is Trae Young from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks may look to break up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray. The Lakers were interested in trading for Dejounte Murray during this season. Trae is the type of player that multiple teams will have interest in if the Hawks decide to make a move. I am not sure that he solves a lot of what the Lakers ills were, perimeter defense was an issue for the Lakers this season and in this series, that is something that Trae is not going to help with, but he is definitely a guy that will super charge your offense and he would look potentially amazing next to LeBron and AD, but there are other options and things that will develop over the next two months."

What the Hawks will do is still up in the air, but I don't agree with this kind of approach to their offseason. The Hawks need to surround Young with better talent and build a better roster, something they have failed at up to this point.

Jackson Caudell


Jackson Caudell covers the Atlanta Hawks and Georgia Tech Athletics for FanNation