The 2023-24 NBA season has been a roller coaster of high-profile trades and unexpected moves. From James Harden to OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, the league has seen its fair share of stars changing jerseys. Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday also made headlines with their trades, the latter being traded twice just before the season commenced. And let’s not forget the NBA Trade Deadline this year, which was anything but quiet with 15 trades shaking up the league, prominently featuring the Knicks, Mavs, and Thunder.

In this whirlwind of exchanges and strategies, the Atlanta Hawks have remained notably reticent, particularly in their handling of Dejounte Murray. Despite the flurry of activity, the Hawks opted to keep Murray past the trade deadline, a decision that has sparked widespread speculation and a torrent of rumors about the team's future plans. This inactivity at the deadline should not be mistaken for a lack of drama or potential future moves. On the contrary, it’s a momentary pause in what could become a major strategic pivot in the offseason.

The most resonant question now echoing through the league’s corridors is: What will the Hawks do next after missing the playoffs this year? Specifically, the chatter has intensified around the possibility of Atlanta preferring to trade star Trae Young over Dejounte Murray (per Marc Stein). As one league source well-versed in the Hawks’ dynamics revealed, there's a “growing belief” that the Hawks might lean towards trading Young. This speculation is underpinned by the team’s on-court dynamics when Young and Murray share the floor, which, statistically, hasn’t been very effective.

The Hawks were outscored by 6.3 points per 100 possessions when Young and Murray played together, according to stats from Cleaning The Glass. However, when either is on the floor without the other, the team’s performance improves markedly, suggesting that the pairing might not be as fruitful as hoped. This statistical revelation has led to a strategic conundrum: can the Hawks afford to keep both, or is it more prudent to choose one over the other?

Trae Young, at 25 years old, is in the midst of a five-year, $215 million contract, which sees him earning $43 million next season with a player option for 2026-27. While these figures represent a substantial investment in Young, his trade value is not necessarily at its peak. The Hawks allowed 119.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor this season, and their record with him in uniform was 22-33, including a significant Play-In game loss inflicted by the Chicago Bulls.

“Another potential sidebar to make note of here: Young continues to be represented by Klutch Sports — same as Murray — but league sources say Young's father Rayford Young also recently secured formal NBA agent certification.”

On locker cleanout day, Young addressed the media, expressing his desire to remain with the Hawks. “I want to be here,” Young stated. “I want to win championships here and do that, but I want to win. That’s pretty much all it is for me. That’s been me from the beginning.”

Despite his stated loyalty, Trae Young’s future with the Hawks remains uncertain, especially given his representation by Klutch Sports — the same agency that represents Murray. Adding another layer to the intrigue, Young's father, Rayford Young, has recently secured formal NBA agent certification, a development that could play a role in any forthcoming negotiations.

Dejounte Murray: Hawks' Hope To Replace Trae Young?

Dejounte Murray balling

Meanwhile, Dejounte Murray’s situation appears somewhat more stable. After the exploration of his trade market did not result in a move, it seems increasingly likely that the Hawks view him as a key piece of their future framework. If Atlanta chooses to trade Young in favor of keeping Murray, it would not only signal a major shift in their roster but also potentially redefine Murray's role as the team's new cornerstone.

The prospect of Murray leading the Hawks is compelling. Known for his defensive prowess and growing offensive capabilities, Murray has shown that he can shoulder the responsibility of guiding a team. His leadership qualities, both on and off the court, have not gone unnoticed, and his ability to impact games could see a significant uptick should he become the primary focus of the Hawks' strategy.

As the offseason approaches, the Atlanta Hawks are at a critical juncture. The decisions made in the coming months could dramatically alter the team's trajectory for years to come. With the NBA landscape as competitive and fluid as ever, the Hawks' choice between Young and Murray will not only affect their immediate future but also set the tone for their strategic direction in the league.

In conclusion, the Hawks are poised for significant changes. Whether these will involve trading Trae Young, redefining Murray's role, or another unexpected twist remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that the outcome will be closely watched, as it will send ripples throughout the NBA and influence the team’s pursuit of success in the seasons to follow.