Trade Reports and Rumblings from Around the League

All but three NBA teams have officially entered offseason mode.

While the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics all remain in pursuit of this season’s championship, the rest of the Association has started plotting its plans to potentially capture the next one—or at least pave a path to contention down the line.

Some of those discussions have made their way to the rumor mill, so let’s dissect those trade rumblings.

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It appears Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young has been caught up in the Los Angeles Lakers’ quest for a third star.

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported the Lakers have had “internal discussions” about trading for Young, who shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

What exactly does this mean? On the surface, maybe nothing. The Hawks have no obvious motivation to trade Young now—he has spoken glowingly about new Atlanta skipper Quin Snyder—and even if they did, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers would have the trade chips needed to get a deal done.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you might see some substance—not necessarily with Young, but the Lakers overall. With a big chunk of their roster heading into free agency, there’s been some debate over whether the club should prioritize depth and re-sign its players or seek out a third star. If L.A. is eyeing Young, that might be the clearest indicator this squad covets more star power.

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Karl-Anthony Towns has long loomed as a logical trade candidate for the New York Knicks.

The New Jersey native has a history with Knicks president Leon Rose (his former agent) and coach Tom Thibodeau (his former coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves). Towns, a three-time All-Star, could also help scratch this club’s itches for both high-end talent and floor-spacing.

And yet, the closest he could come to joining the Knicks might be a few Photoshopped pictures of him rocking the blue-and-orange threads. SNY’s Ian Begley relayed on the HoopsHype Podcast that New York’s interest in Towns is “a little down” from where it was when Rose took over the front office.

The Knicks seemingly have the assets needed to broker a blockbuster deal, but they frankly might be dreaming bigger than Towns at this point. He has played 50 games or fewer in three of the past four seasons, has only booked three playoff trips in his eight-year career (none of which stretched beyond the opening round) and just averaged the fewest rebounds (8.1) and second-fewest points (20.8) of his career.

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The last place NBA teams want to be is in the league’s middle class: never good enough to contend, never bad enough to bottom out and nab a top draft pick.

That’s exactly where the Washington Wizards have spent much of the past decade. They have just three postseason trips and a single series win to show for the last eight seasons, a span during which they’ve never drafted higher than the No. 9 pick.

That’s led many to wonder whether it’s time to tear down this team and start over, and it sounds like that option may finally be on the table. Newly hired president of basketball operations Michael Winger has received “wide latitude to expand and revamp the Wizards’ infrastructure—and potentially launch a full rebuild of the roster,” per The Athletic’s Josh Robbins.

With Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porziņģis both potentially headed to free agency (each has a player option), Winger needs to settle on a direction for this franchise quickly. Should Washington lean into a rebuild, it will be fascinating to see what it could fetch for Bradley Beal. He’s a three-time All-Star and prolific scorer, but he’s also a 30-year-old who just finished the first season of a five-year deal worth more than $250 million.