Trae Young

Hawks Notes: Murray, Young, J. Johnson, McMillan

The Hawks are committed to fixing the defensive issues that held them back last season, and trading for Dejounte Murray is an important part of that effort, writes Aaron Wilson of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta paid a high price for Murray, sending three first-round picks and a future pick swap to the Spurs, but it landed a 26-year-old All-Star guard with a team-friendly contract.

Murray excelled at both ends of the court in San Antonio, averaging 21.1 points per game and leading the NBA in steals with 2.0 per night. He seems like an ideal backcourt partner for Trae Young and said he’s ready to set the defensive tone for his new teammates.

“Defense is about showing effort,” Murray said. “I will bring what I learned both as a leader and vocally as everyone buys in. Everyone has to buy in and push each other and seeing everyone showing up was good. Ready to go compete and earn my team’s trust in training camp.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Young was a strong advocate for acquiring Murray and he believes they can succeed together, per Lauren Williams of The Journal-Constitution. In four NBA seasons, Young has never played alongside another guard with Murray’s defensive skills. “It’s hard to point out what he’s great at, but he’s good at everything — like defense, scoring, passing, rebounding,” Young said. “I mean, he’s really good at everything. So just having somebody who’s going to be just as dependent as I am in the backcourt, which is going to be the fun, I can’t wait to get started.”
  • Jalen Johnson looks forward to carving out a larger role after an offseason procedure to deal with tendinitis in his left knee, Williams adds in a separate story. The 20-year-old forward averaged just 5.5 minutes in 22 games as a rookie, and playing time may be even harder to come by with the offseason additions of Maurice Harkless and Frank Kaminsky. “He’s got to earn that opportunity,” coach Nate McMillan said. “He’s been here since August, and he’s working on doing that. He’s been playing and looking good. I thought last year, his play in the G League, he’s showing maturity and he’s showing some confidence and he’s looking forward to the challenge.”
  • McMillan visited Young’s Oklahoma City home in June to talk about improving their communication for the upcoming season, according to Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. McMillan wants to see Young become more of a team leader on and off the court. “He’s the face of the franchise and it’s something that he has just inherited,” McMillan said. “He will have to work at it and become better.”

Hawks Rumors: Collins, Hunter, Injuries, Murray

The Hawks kicked off the NBA’s Media Day season this morning, with general manager Landry Fields telling reporters that John Collins is “still here for a reason” after a summer of trade speculation, tweets Atlanta reporter Brad Rowland.

Trade talk is nothing new for Collins, who has seemingly been on the block since signing a five-year, $125MM deal last offseason. There were numerous rumors involving Collins leading up to this year’s draft, and he was reportedly part of the package the Hawks offered to Brooklyn in an attempt to acquire Kevin Durant.

Fields said Collins understands the situation and has remained professional (Twitter link). The GM added that Collins has expressed his opinion on the constant trade talks, but he understands what the team is doing (Twitter link).

There’s more from the team’s media session:

  • Fields said negotiations are continuing with De’Andre Hunter and the team hopes to have an rookie scale extension in place before the October 17 deadline, tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to head coach Nate McMillan, Hunter has been able to go through normal workouts this summer, which he couldn’t do last offseason because of a medical procedure (Twitter link).
  • Fields also provided health updates on a few players, saying Bogdan Bogdanovic is “not going to be 100% for training camp” after having surgery on his right knee in May (Twitter link). The team is focused on getting Bogdanovic back to full health at some point during the season, Fields added. He also said first-round pick AJ Griffin has been “full go” for a few weeks following a foot injury that prevented him from playing in Summer League (Twitter link), and second-year power forward Jalen Johnson will also be ready for camp after a non-surgical procedure on his left knee (Twitter link).
  • McMillan was in constant contact with Trae Young as the Hawks worked out a trade with the Spurs for Dejounte Murray, Williams tweets. The coach added that Young is looking forward to having a chance to play off the ball this season. Fields admitted having two traditional ball-handlers in the backcourt might be “a little clunky at first,” but he expressed confidence that Young and Murray will figure out their roles (Twitter link).
  • Fields plans to keep the 15th roster spot open due to luxury tax concerns, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The Hawks are about $1MM over the tax line, and Fields indicated the team’s performance will determine whether he tries to get back under the threshold. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing,” he said.

Southeast Notes: Mitchell, Beal, Kuzma, Porzingis, Adebayo, Hawks

The Wizards should be bold and acquire a star player like Donovan Mitchell to pair up with Bradley Beal, who’s now locked into a long-term contract, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. That pairing would put up big offensive numbers, but Washington would have to make other moves to cover for the backcourt’s defensive shortcomings. The front office would have to acquire defensive stalwarts at other spots to mask those defensive issues, Robbins adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards already have a “big three” in terms of offensive firepower with Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. As Hughes writes, the trio could compare to the mid-2000s Washington teams built around Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, which included an elite scoring guard plus two versatile, offense-driven frontcourt players.
  • Finding a bigger offensive role for Bam Adebayo is more complicated than many Heat fans might think, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes in his latest mailbag. If Tyler Herro is moved to the starting lineup, there would be fewer shots for Adebayo with Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry already on the floor. For Adebayo to be effective, he may also need a floor spacer such as Max Strus or Duncan Robinson.
  • Trae Young believes outsiders are underestimating the impact of the Hawks’ acquisition of Dejounte Murray, as he told Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill on Goodwill’s podcast (Twitter link). “I don’t think people understand how dynamic of a backcourt (we) can be,” Young said. “Both can score 20-plus, both can get nine-plus assists a game. You can’t really double one or the other. If you do, you really pick your poison.”

Landry Fields: Hawks “Bet On The Character Makeup” Of Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

The Hawkstrade for Dejounte Murray was about finding a backcourt partner who fits well alongside Trae Young, general manager Landry Fields said in an interview with Mark Medina of NBA.com. Atlanta paid a steep price for Murray, sending three first-round picks and a pick swap to San Antonio along with Danilo Gallinari, but Fields believes the deal was worth it to find a possible long-time complement to Young.

Murray and Young have both been primary ball-handlers throughout their careers, so they’ll have to work on blending their offensive games together. Defensively, Murray can take on the toughest matchups and make it more difficult for opponents to exploit Young.

“We bet on the character makeup of Trae and Dejounte,” Fields said. “Both of those guys want to win, and will do what it takes to win. They need that because their roles will be a lot different than they were last year, from both respective teams. As long as they’re able to do what it takes, Coach [Nate McMillan] then comes in and is able to get creative with how they’ll operate. From a front-office standpoint, we’ll determine if we need to inject more here, here or here. Hopefully, all three of those are working at the same time.”

Fields addresses several other topics during the interview, including:

The trade that sent Kevin Huerter to the Kings in exchange for Justin Holiday, Maurice Harkless and a future first-round pick:

“Justin Holiday gives us more length around the perimeter and an ability to shoot from the perimeter. That opens things up for Trae and Dejounte with an ability to space the floor. That gives room for Clint [Capela] and John [Collins] as they’re working down in the interior. Hopefully, De’Andre [Hunter] continues to take the steps that he needs.

“With Moe, he’s a guy that plays hard and gives us depth at the four. It’s helpful in that regard. He’s a vet. He’s got great character and we like what he brings to the locker room. He’s not the most outgoing guy, but enough so that we feel there’s an impact there, too.”

John Collins, who has been the subject of frequent trade speculation since re-signing with the Hawks last offseason:

“This isn’t one of those, ‘We have to get off of John.’ That’s absurd. There’s a misinterpretation of that. You always think of the player from that standpoint because he is constantly in talks. You try to make sure with him that we check in and make sure he’s doing all right. It’s something where it’s less about wondering if he’s the long-term fit and it’s more about the fact that he gets called on a lot. The moment those calls come up, people talk. Then all of a sudden, here we are in the media with this thought that John Collins is not wanted by the Hawks.”

The status of McMillan, who reportedly could be on the hot seat if Atlanta gets off to another slow start:

“Coach has been great. After the season, as a staff, [president of basketball operations] Travis [Schlenk] had a chance to sit with him. He was working with him throughout the offseason. It’s his renewed approach to things and his viewpoints. He was leading by taking ownership and responsibility. It was good to see. You need that. I know he’s excited about the group. But he’s also hungry to get back to where we are, too. He’s been here day in and day out in Vegas. He’s been in the gym at our facility. He’s always been there.”

Hawks Rumors: Murray, Durant, Collins, Hunter

The Hawkstrade for Dejounte Murray was the result of pressure from ownership to improve the roster before Trae Young‘s super-max extension takes effect next season, according to Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Murray is under contract for a combined $34.2MM over the next two years, and while the team doesn’t expect him to agree to an early extension that would limit his future earnings, there’s confidence that he will be a long-term backcourt partner for Young.

Atlanta’s front office had a “sense of confusion and disbelief” that the Spurs were willing to part with Murray, a 25-year-old All-Star with a team-friendly contract, the authors add. Sources tell them that the teams discussed a Murray deal last week, but the Spurs didn’t contact the Hawks for a long time afterward, leading to concerns on Atlanta’s side that San Antonio was reconsidering the trade or may have found a better offer.

San Antonio also discussed Murray with the Timberwolves, but Minnesota wasn’t willing to give up as much as the Hawks eventually did, Kirschner and Amick add. The Knicks were reported as a possible destination, but the authors say they never had trade talks with the Spurs about Murray.

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Amid the chaos surrounding the Nets last week, the Hawks were preparing to have an offer ready in case Kevin Durant asked for a trade, according to Kirschner and Amick.
  • Young is “really excited” about the Murray trade, states ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who adds that Atlanta likely isn’t done reshaping its roster (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks are facing a shrinking market for John Collins, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a podcast with Kirschner that was recorded Wednesday before the Murray trade was announced. Two potential destinations were eliminated when the Kings drafted Keegan Murray and the Trail Blazers traded for Jerami Grant. Kirschner adds that Atlanta won’t give up Collins without a decent return, so there’s a chance he won’t be traded this offseason.
  • Scotto and Kirschner address a number of other Hawks-related items. Atlanta may have interest in a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade but only if it’s less than a max deal, De’Andre Hunter is considered part of the team’s core and could eventually land an extension near $20MM per season, and Delon Wright is much more likely to be re-signed than Lou Williams. Kirschner also cites potential “heat” on Nate McMillan, saying the Hawks will consider a coaching change if they don’t get off to a fast start next season.

Hawks Rumors: Collins, Capela, Grant, Bogdanovic

A John Collins trade appears more likely to happen this offseason than it ever has in the past, according to Marc Stein, who writes in his latest Substack article that a deal involving the Hawks big man seems to be “pretty much expected.”

Both Stein and Jeremy Woo of SI.com continue to link Collins to the Trail Blazers, with Woo suggesting that Atlanta is “eyeing” Portland’s No. 7 overall pick and Stein agreeing that a Collins deal structured around that No. 7 pick seems plausible.

Stein adds that Suns general manager James Jones has “rated Collins highly in the past,” so if Atlanta does pursue a sign-and-trade deal for Phoenix center Deandre Ayton, there could be a fit there.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Clint Capela‘s name continues to pop up in trade rumors, with Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting earlier today that the Timberwolves have talked to Atlanta about the veteran center. However, Stein notes that Capela is close with Trae Young and has been described as a “true Young favorite,” so if the Hawks move the big man, they’d have to be pretty confident the deal upgraded the roster.
  • After writing a couple weeks ago that the Hawks continued to exhibit interest in Pistons forward Jerami Grant, Stein clarifies that it was actually Detroit that showed more interest in a hypothetical deal that would involve Grant, the Hawks’ No. 16 overall pick, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, while Atlanta was less enthusiastic about the idea. It’s not clear how Bogdanovic’s recent knee surgery might affect the Pistons’ interest in such a trade or the Hawks’ ability to move him, Stein writes.
  • Despite Travis Schlenk‘s insistence that the Hawks won’t undergo a “major overhaul” this summer, rival teams still believe they’re looking to make significant changes, with Young, De’Andre Hunter, and Onyeka Okongwu widely believed to be the only players who are probably off limits, according to Stein.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Lowry, Strus, Wizards, Magic

By earning a spot on the All-NBA Third Team this week, Hawks guard Trae Young ensured that his five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension will start at 30% of the 2022/23 cap rather than 25%, as we outlined on Tuesday. Based on the current maximum-salary projections, that means Atlanta’s projected team salary for next season will increase by $6.1MM.

As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes, Young’s salary bump means Atlanta is more likely to be over the luxury-tax line in 2022/23 and perhaps less likely to bring back Danilo Gallinari, whose $21.45MM salary is only partially guaranteed for $5MM. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), the Hawks currently project to be about $7.8MM over the tax line, so they could, at least temporarily, get out of tax territory by waiving Gallinari and saving that $16MM+.

Young’s more lucrative contract may place a few more constraints on the Hawks over the next five years as they attempt to build a championship-caliber roster around him. However, as Kirschner observes, the team will at least no longer have to worry about Young being disgruntled as a result of missing out on an All-NBA spot and an extra $35MM.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • With Kyle Lowry still clearly being affected by the left hamstring injury that has forced him to miss eight playoff games, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel and Joe Vardon of The Athletic believe the Heat have to seriously consider whether or not Lowry should start – or even play – in a do-or-die Game 6. Vardon says the team should probably bench both Lowry and Max Strus, who are a combined 1-of-28 from the floor in the last two games.
  • Josh Robbins and John Hollinger of The Athletic take a look at the Wizards‘ future, discussing whether a full-fledged rebuild or building around Bradley Beal would be a better course of action for the franchise. Hollinger wonders if the team missed an opportunity to get a Jrue Holiday-esque haul (or better) for Beal by not moving him a year or two ago, but believes that the best course of action at this point would be to re-sign the All-Star guard, since he could always be traded later.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel explores what the Magic‘s starting five may look like next season, depending on whether the team drafts Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren. In Price’s view, floor-spacing issues mean that Cole Anthony may be a better fit alongside Holmgren, while Jalen Suggs could make more sense alongside Smith.

2021/2022 All-NBA Teams Announced

The 2021/22 All-NBA teams have officially been announced by the NBA. For the fourth straight season, Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to the All-NBA First Team by a voter panel of 100 media members. Antetokounmpo, 27, is making his sixth All-NBA team overall.

Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic received the most votes. Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker and Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid rounded out the list of top five vote-getters. Because the All-NBA teams, unlike the All-Star squads, require just one center per team, Embiid was relegated to an All-NBA Second Team placing.

Below is a list of the three All-NBA teams. Vote tallies are listed in parentheses next to player names. Five points were awarded to players for a First Team Vote, three points netted for a Second Team vote, and one for a Third Team vote. Antetokounmpo earned a perfect 500 points.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat center Bam Adebayo and small forward Jimmy Butler, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, and Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet all received All-NBA votes. Surprisingly, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who played in just 29 games this season, also received a single vote.

As we previously outlined, the All-NBA selections come with significant financial ramifications. As a result of being named to All-NBA teams, Booker and Towns have become eligible for super-max extensions that would begin in 2024/25. If they’re signed this offseason, those deals would be for four years and would start at 35% of the ’24/25 cap. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter), they currently project to be worth $211MM apiece.

Young’s five-year contract extension, which was signed last August and will go into effect in 2022/23, will now be worth 30% of next season’s cap instead of 25% by virtue of his All-NBA selection. Based on a projected $122MM cap, that means it’ll be worth about $212MM instead of $177MM.

Jokic had already met the super-max requirements prior to this announcement, since he won last year’s MVP award — he’s eligible to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason and has said he plans to do so. Doncic, who signed a maximum-salary contract extension last summer, also previously met the super-max criteria by earning All-NBA nods in 2020 and 2021.

Notable players who are not eligible this offseason for super-max deals include Morant and Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. As Marks tweets, Morant needs to make the All-NBA team again in 2023 to qualify for a starting salary worth 30% of the cap (instead of 25%) on his next deal.

LaVine, a free agent this offseason, would have been eligible to earn up to 35% of next season’s cap from the Bulls if he had made an All-NBA team, but will instead be able to earn no more than 30% of the ’22/23 cap on his next contract.

With their inclusions, Morant, Booker, and Young are making their All-NBA team debuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the NBA aging curve, two 37-year-old veterans further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials during the 2021/22 season. James made his 18th All-NBA team, while Paul was named to his 11th All-NBA team.

Hawks Notes: Bogdanovic, Draft Workout, Trade Tiers

Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s lingering knee issue will likely prevent the Hawks wing from participating with the Serbian National Team in the EuroBasket tournament during September, according to MozzartSport.com (hat tip to Eurohoops.net). Bogdanovic, who was limited to 63 regular-season games,  played through the pain in the first round of the playoffs, and MozzartSport’s report suggests offseason surgery is a possibility.

We have more on the Hawks:

Southeast Notes: Young, Bol, Isaac, Unseld Jr.

Hawks guard Trae Young has adopted a new offseason routine this year, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Instead of taking his usual month off, Young was back in the gym a week after Atlanta’s loss to Miami in its first-round series. He’s undertaking a workout regimen that he plans to continue through the NBA Finals, explaining, “because that’s where I want to play.”

“I think it’s gotta be,” Young said. “It’s happened for a lot of the guys who’ve won championships and all the big-time players that’s come before me, throughout this whole league. Everybody has to go through something to push through, to get to that next step. I think this could be that thing.”

The Heat were able to rattle Young by attacking him with multiple defenders, leading to subpar numbers throughout the series. He averaged 15.4 points and 6.2 turnovers in the five games while shooting 31.9% from the field and 18.4% from three-point range.

“I think this is just a learning experience in the early chapter stage of my career that I needed to go through,” Young said. “The Heat did a great job, their defensive schemes, placement, where their guys were, switching it up, making it difficult. Just looking back at some of the mistakes I had, I know I’m going to learn from them, and it’s only going to make me better, and I think that’s a scary thing, if I’m young and I still have a lot to grow from. I think it’s a good thing that I can learn from it.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic big man Bol Bol is continuing rehab work on his injured right foot that required surgery in January, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Bol wasn’t able to play for Orlando after being acquired in a February deal, and he’ll be a free agent this summer. The Magic can make him restricted by extending a $2.7MM qualifying offer, and it sounds like the team still believes in his future. “Bol’s working very hard,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. “He’s working diligently. He’s working every day. He continues to ramp up. He’s just doing individual work right now. We’re going to be careful with him as we are with everyone to make sure he doesn’t skip steps in his rehabilitation.”
  • Speaking as part of the ReAwaken America Tour, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac explained his decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, per Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops“Viewing it, it seemed forced. It seemed that there was so much pressure in doing it,” Isaac said. “I don’t see the wisdom in putting something into my body that’s not going to stop me from getting the virus or transmitting it. That is why I decided to be the only player on my team to not get vaccinated.”
  • First-year coach Wes Unseld Jr. has been selected to represent the Wizards at Tuesday’s draft lottery, the team tweeted this week. Washington has a 3% chance of landing the first pick and a 13.9% chance of moving into the top four.