The Atlanta Hawks' 2023-24 season came to a conclusion on Wednesday. The Chicago Bulls eliminated them from the NBA postseason with a 131-116 drubbing in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. That left the Hawks with an assortment of questions they will have to answer in the offseason. The most pressing would be whether or not they decide to trade their franchise star Trae Young.

Atlanta is not in a great spot heading into the offseason. Their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray has not worked in either of the two seasons they have been paired together. Murray is set to embark on a four-year $114 million extension that kicks in next season. If the two haven't been an effective duo, prolonging them together for four more years doesn't seem wise.

To make matters worse, the Hawks don't have control of any of their picks from 2025 through 2027. This is a result of the trade that brought Murray in from San Antonio. They also already have $163 million already committed for next season. The Hawks missed the playoffs, so not having all of their picks and having a high payroll on top of that is a bad combination.

Atlanta is staring a rebuild in the face. They have to try to get their picks back or stock up on them elsewhere. That could lead to a  Trae Young trade.

Trae Young, Guard

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.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Trae Young and Dejounte Murray have not been a great duo. That was the case last season and was again this year. One would think that time and familiarity with each other's games would lead to more harmony on the floor together, but that didn't happen. The Hawks had a +1.6 net rating with both Young and Murray on the floor together last year according to Cleaning the Glass. That number dipped to -6.3 this season.

A +1.6 net rating is nothing to write home about when a team's two best players share the floor, but a -6.3 mark is untenable. What makes matters even worse is that the Hawks were markedly better when only one of the two star guards was playing. Atlanta had a +3.1 net rating with Young on the floor without Murray and a +0.8 number and vice versa.

The Hawks were much better when only one of their star guards played without the other. It didn't make much of a difference which one was playing and which one was sitting. Because of this, the case can be made that if the Hawks were going to part with one of their guards, it should be Young. Young should be able to fetch more for Atlanta than Murray would for a few reasons.

For one, Young is the younger of the two. Young is oddly enough exactly two years younger than Murray. Another reason why the former Oklahoma Sooner could net more in a trade is that he is one of the best offensive players in the league. Young has averaged at least 25 points per game in every year save for his rookie season. He's done it on robust efficiency and perenially being at the top of the league in assists per game.

Possible Destinations

Atlanta is currently where no team in the NBA wants to be. They are too good to tank and not good enough to make noise in the playoffs. Substantial changes are needed to get them out of the hole they dug themselves with the Murray trade. That may cost them the face of their franchise for the last six seasons.

Maybe the Hawks can work a deal with the San Antonio Spurs to get their picks back along with a couple of their young players. The Lakers talked extensively with Atlanta for Murray before the trade deadline. If they get eliminated handily by the Nuggets again in the playoffs, they could be a team to pay up for Young.

Atlanta has a lot to sort out this offseason. What they do with Young will be the most pertinent of them all. All eyes will be on the Hawks come summertime.