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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

Trae Young has mutual interest with 1 surprise team?

Trae Young in his Hawks uniform

Dec 27, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles the ball in the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trae Young might end up playing in the Western Conference next season … but not for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Veteran NBA writer Marc Stein said this week on his Substack that the San Antonio Spurs have been circulating for months among league observers as a viable trade destination for the Atlanta Hawks star Young. Stein adds that Young is also believed to have interest in the Spurs as a landing spot.

Young, now a three-time All-Star, is one of the very best offensive players in the NBA, averaging 27.1 points and a career-high 10.8 assists per game this year. But Young also has some glaring limitations in his game (particularly defensively) and clearly is not a viable long-term pairing with fellow guard Dejounte Murray in Atlanta. The Hawks chose to hold onto Murray at this year’s trade deadline, and as a result, Young is now the one who is facing rumors of an offseason trade.

The Spurs are a rebuilding team, which makes it a surprise that they would consider a timeline-warper like the 26-year-old (by next season) Young. But they are actually one of the very few destinations that might be feasible. San Antonio has the 7-foot-4 mothra Victor Wembanyama, who could be a great pick-and-roll partner for Young and might cover up for Young’s deficiencies on the defensive end. The Spurs are also a very low payroll team and would easily be able to absorb the three years and $138 million left on Young’s contract after this season.

As for assets, San Antonio has plenty to entice Atlanta with as well. Other than Wembanyama, they are loaded with young talent age 24 or younger (including Jeremy Sochan, Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, and Malaki Branham). On top of that, the Spurs have another young piece that they appear to be shopping, creating a strong overall situation for a potential run at Young come the summer.

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