After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020/21 as the No. 5 seed, Atlanta was eliminated by Miami in the first round of last year’s playoffs as the No. 8 seed. Haynes writes that Young encouraged Atlanta’s front office to deal for guard Dejounte Murray in the offseason, but their partnership has been a little shaky thus far, with the Hawks currently sitting with a 16-16 record, the No. 9 seed in the East.
Young is under contract through at least 2025/26 (he has a player option in ’26/27) after signing a maximum-salary rookie scale extension in the 2021 offseason, so he seemingly wouldn’t have much leverage if he does request a trade down the line. It also wouldn’t exactly be a good look from an optics standpoint considering he pushed for the Murray acquisition.
The Hawks recently made a major change to the top of their basketball operations department, with former president Travis Schlenk moving into a role as a senior advisor, and GM Landry Fields taking his place as the head of basketball operations. A source tells Haynes that Fields meets with the team’s star point guard regularly and the two have a “great relationship.”
Rival teams are keeping a close eye on Atlanta’s situation, particularly with the rumored tension between Young and head coach Nate McMillan. Haynes states that Fields has ownership’s green light to upgrade the roster, but thus far hasn’t found any takers for forward John Collins.
Here’s more from Haynes:
- Another star player rival executives believe could request a trade in the offseason is DeMar DeRozan, who will earn $28.6MM next season in the final year of his contract. Like the Hawks, the Bulls have dealt with their own on-court dysfunction, currently sitting with a 13-18 record, the No. 11 seed in the East. The Bulls were the No. 6 seed last season after finishing 46-36 (they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Milwaukee), so they’d have to go 33-18 the rest of the way to just to match that mark, which seems improbable at the moment. Haynes says that playing on an expiring deal is a “non-starter for most high-caliber players” and suggests that DeRozan is likely to seek an extension or ask out if the Bulls don’t improve. However, he did just enter free agency in the 2021 offseason after playing on an expiring contract with San Antonio, and was notoriously loyal with Toronto, so it’s unclear if this is report is just speculation from Haynes (and rival teams) or something the five-time All-Star is actually considering.
- League sources tell Haynes that Jordan Clarkson and his agents are engaged in contract extension talks with the Jazz. However, Haynes says it’s not a lock that a new deal gets signed and Clarkson might enter free agency instead, which would require him to turn down his $14.3MM player option for ’23/24. A couple of reporters wrote last month that Clarkson was more likely to be extended than traded by the Jazz.
- The Mavericks haven’t made Christian Wood available in trade talks, but according to Haynes, some rival teams think that might change soon. Haynes notes that Wood is playing on a $14.3MM expiring deal and is eligible for a four-year, $77MM extension in a couple days, but his fit in Dallas hasn’t been what either side was hoping for. Wood’s points, rebounds and minutes are down from the past couple seasons, and he has only started four of 29 games, with head coach Jason Kidd citing defensive concerns as the reason for the big man’s somewhat reduced role.
- Justise Winslow suffered a left ankle injury in Wednesday’s loss to the Thunder and is expected to undergo an MRI, sources tell Haynes. The Trail Blazers forward is an unrestricted free agent in 2023 and is a rotation regular for Portland. On the bright side, Blazers guard Gary Payton II hopes to make his season debut next week, per Haynes, which is in line with a report last week from Shams Charania of The Athletic.