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Spurs, Lakers among best trade destinations for Trae Young

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Could Trae Young be on the move? It seemed possible after the Hawks were eliminated in embarrassing fashion in this season’s Play-In Tournament game. It’s even likelier now that the Hawks won the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery
.

Dejounte Murray, who is no stranger to trade rumors himself
, had a classic reaction after Atlanta earned that pick. 

Murray isn’t alone in his assessment. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Atlanta’s likelihood of putting Young into trade talks is now “very real,” adding that the front office could decide to go younger and start a full rebuild. 

If the Hawks do decide to keep Young and draft Alexander Sarr, who is projected No. 1 on most boards and gambling markets like BetMGM, then those two would make a great pick-and-roll duo. But if the timelines don’t add up, there will be a lot of interest in the three-time All-Star point guard.

Here are the most likely landing spots for Young. 

MORE: NBA Draft Lottery winners and losers feature Hawks, Spurs, Raptors

Young is in Year 3 of a five-year, $215.2 million deal. He has a 15 percent trade kicker.

Here is Young’s salary over the lifetime of the contract, per Spotrac:

MORE: Why Bronny James may stay in 2024 NBA Draft after receiving medical clearance

The Lakers expressed interest in Young at last year’s trade deadline, per The Athletic’s Jovan Buha. Their only tradeable first-round pick in 2029 wasn’t close to enough to get a deal done at that time.

Los Angeles will add some potential draft compensation on draft day when it can ship out its No. 17 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft along with that 2029 pick and an unprotected first-rounder in 2031. L.A. also has five second-rounders to add to a deal.

At 25 years old, Young would help usher in a smooth transition when LeBron James eventually retires. He could throw great lobs to Anthony Davis, who could also cover for Young’s lackluster defense. 

The Lakers would have to match Young’s $43.0 million salary in any deal. Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves and Gabe Vincent would get that trade done from a financial standpoint. They could also throw in all of their future first-rounders. 

This is a steep price to pay for Young. The inclusion of Reaves in particular would sting. The Lakers could try to include Jarred Vanderbilt in his place, but they may be outbid in that scenario. 

MORE: How the Lakers could trade for Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, or Zach LaVine

Young works on the Spurs for many of the same reasons that the Lakers fit makes sense — Victor Wembanyama badly needs a point guard upgrade to throw him the easiest lobs in the world and can cover for Young’s defense. Wemby is “intrigued” by the idea, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon

A deal with San Antonio works very well because the Spurs still have control of the Hawks’ 2025 and 2027 first-round picks, plus swap rights in 2026, via the Dejounte Murray trade. If the Hawks do trade Young, they would likely bottom out and those picks would be near the top of the lottery. 

The Spurs also have a ton of other first and second-round picks that they could throw into a potential deal. Draft compensation will not be an issue. Here’s what a trade might look like:

The Spurs are in a strong position in that they have roughly $20 million in cap space, allowing them to make uneven-salary trades. They could get off their bloated Zach Collins deal, give up a good young prospect in Keldon Johnson and save the Hawks over $7 million off their payroll.

As far as draft compensation goes, the Spurs could give the Hawks both of their picks back, plus the No. 8 pick in this upcoming draft and their swap rights in 2026. This would essentially undo the Murray trade while adding a great lottery pick as a sweetener. 

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