Why Hawks say yes and no: Trae Young trade to Lakers for Rui Hachimura, first-round picks package

The Lakers didn’t make a move at this season’s trade deadline. That doesn’t mean they won’t make one over the summer, where they will have two additional first-round picks at their disposal. 

Trade speculation has already ramped up around Trae Young. Jovan Buha of The Athletic has stated that the Lakers may target Young, Donovan Mitchell or Kyrie Irving in the offseason. 

What would a deal for the Hawks superstar look like, and would it make sense for both sides? 

MORE: Rui Hachimura has fixed the Lakers’ starting lineup issues

Why Hawks say yes and no: Trae Young trade to Lakers for Rui Hachimura, first-round picks package

Trae Young Atlanta Hawks

(NBA Entertainment)

The trade

  • Lakers receive: Trae Young
  • Hawks receive: Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jalen Hood-Schifino, first-round picks in 2024, 2029 and 2031

Why this trade

The Lakers have three untouchable players on their roster — LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves. To get to Young’s $43.0 million salary in 2024-25 without using any of those three, the players that need to be included are Hachimura, Vincent and Vanderbilt. 

D’Angelo Russell would be a nice option to substitute, but his contract situation is tricky. He has a $18.7 million player option which, if he accepts, allows him to be put into this trade.

Russell has been playing very well, though, and it’s looking more likely that he opts out of that last year to pursue a new, bigger deal. If that happens, then Los Angeles would have to contend with second apron issues which would prevent it from being able to use him in a sign-and-trade.

Hood-Schifino and Max Christie are the Lakers’ two best prospects. The Hawks would likely ask for at least one of them back. 

The Lakers would include three first-round picks because that is the maximum they have to offer. 

Why the Hawks say yes

This Hawks core hasn’t worked out. There is rampant speculation that one (or both) of Young or Dejounte Murray will be moved during the offseason. 

Moving Young makes more sense if the Hawks want to start from scratch. He is a somewhat difficult player to build around due to how much he controls the ball and his defensive limitations, as they’ve witnessed firsthand. 

Hachimura has had a good year. He’s on a reasonable contract that pays him for two more years through his age-27 season. Vincent has been a disappointment and is nothing more than salary filler. Vanderbilt will be in the first year of a four-year, $48.0 million contract. Hood-Schifino is a tall young guard with some two-way potential.

Those players could be shipped to another team down the line for more draft equity, which is what the Hawks would be prioritizing here. The Lakers are an old team, and those picks in 2029 and 2031 could be pretty good down the line. 

Why the Hawks say no

The Hawks could reject this trade depending on how wide the interest is in Young.

If the Spurs throw their hat into the ring, they can beat this offer. They have a ton of picks at their disposal, including the Hawks’ own in 2025 and 2027, plus swap rights in 2026.

That’s important because if Atlanta moves Young, it would almost certainly be in the lottery for the foreseeable future. Bottoming out doesn’t have the same incentives for the Hawks as other teams, which is why they would be reticent to move Young in the first place. 

Trading with the Spurs would allow the Hawks to reap the full benefits of a rebuild. The Spurs also have much more than the three picks that the Lakers could max out on. 

Would the Lakers even sign off on this?

Young would certainly help the Lakers’ offensive issues. And they have the defensive infrastructure to help hide his weaknesses. He’d be a good fit there. 

This is a hefty price, though. The Lakers would only have pick swaps in 2026, 2028 and 2030 along with some second-rounders to improve the team. They would be committed to a core of Young, Davis and Reaves to carry them once LeBron retires. 

Does that matter? The window for the Lakers is slamming shut as LeBron continues to get older. Young might be the best player available.

Los Angeles doesn’t have enough to realistically win a championship if it stands pat. It’s a risky gamble, but one that the team might need to make if it has a championship-or-bust mentality.


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