Grading a Pelicans all-in trade for Trae Young from all angles

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks. Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks. Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

With the Atlanta Hawks currently struggling in their first-round series against the Boston Celtics and recent rumors surrounding the possibility of a potential Trae Young trade this offseason, we thought it wise to analyze a potential trade package that could send the All-Star guard to the New Orleans Pelicans.

For the sake of this exercise, we won’t be evaluating this trade from an on-court fit perspective. Rather, we looked at it from an asset exchange standpoint. After all, making the pieces fit is up to the coaches, not the folks in the front office.

A couple of days ago, the Twitter account Fanspo highlighted this potential New Orleans/Atlanta trade for Young:

The best place to start here is with our Pelicans. Dyson Daniels is a promising young player, but New Orleans has the luxury of employing a handful of other wings/forwards that fill a similar void to him (Trey Murphy III, Herbert Jones, Naji Marshall, and Josh Richardson). So, sacrificing him in pursuit of a proven All-Star is definitely a worthwhile endeavor.

As for CJ McCollum, he has been both a reliable and admirable performer during his time in New Orleans. However, he’s a small guard on the wrong side of 30, meaning his prime (one that has never reached the heights that Young’s has) is most likely fleeting.

As for the first-round picks, I think people have a tendency to overvalue these intangible, unknown assets. You play the draft game to acquire players of Young’s caliber. So why not just take all the projection/scouting out of the equation and acquire a player that you already know is great?

On top of that, they are top-5 protected, so if the Los Angeles Lakers or Milwaukee Bucks really bottom out, the team can recoup those assets.

The fit may be a bit wonky from an on-court perspective (like we said, different article for a different day), but from a pure asset exchange perspective, this seems like a good deal for the Pelicans.

That turns things over to the Hawks’ side. The best place to start is to look at what they gave away to get his current backcourt co-star, Dejounte Murray.

With all due respect, Danilo Gallinari was kind of a throwaway here (especially considering the San Antonio Spurs waived him immediately). And for the sake of simplicity, we’ll say the two picks they traded away and the two they get in this hypothetical deal are of relatively equal value.

The next question here is whether McCollum and Daniels are worth more than the pick swap and the protected pick they gave away. The reason they need to be worth more is because Young is a better player than Murray. Even if you think the Hawks overpaid for Murray, for Atlanta to call a theoretical Young trade a win, they need to get more value than they gave up there.

I’d say that Daniels and McCollum are worth more (especially if you can turn McCollum into another first round pick in a separate deal). However, if they really want to squeeze all they can from the Pelicans, I would really angle for Murphy to be the youngster included in this deal instead of Daniels – mainly because he’s the more proven young player and has flashed more offensive upside with his shooting and play-finishing.

To summarize, as currently constructed, the Pelicans would be the team more likely to push for this deal. But New Orleans could add/revise some portions to make it a more even deal.

With that all squared away, could you imagine a starting lineup that featured Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Trae Young? That would surely be something.

Next. 10 Players the Pelicans gave up on way too soon. dark