Grade the Trade pitch: Lakers land two superstars in massive summer shakeup

A recent article has suggested that the Los Angeles Lakers execute a blockbuster trade for Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young. How much sense does it make?
Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Lakers are entering an offseason in which every available trade target will be rumored as an option at some point or another. In terms of the players who are already being mentioned as potential trade targets, few are capturing as many headlines as Trae Young.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard is a three-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA Third Team honoree who ranks among the most productive players in the Association.

Young, 25, boasts career averages of 25.5 points, 9.5 assists, and 2.6 three-point field goals made across six completed seasons. He led the Hawks to the three consecutive postseason appearances between 2020-21 and 2022-23, including a star-making run to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals.

As Atlanta weighs its options following a 36-46 finish to the 2023-24 season, however, Young is being consistently mentioned as a player who could be traded.

Chris Herring of ESPN has floated out an idea of where Young might ultimately end up: Los Angeles. It's a compelling idea, as Young would join forces with Anthony Davis in a long-term partnership that would have a chance to lead Los Angeles into the future.

The key questions are: Just how much sense does it make for the Lakers to trade for Young and under what conditions would this hypothetical trade occur?

The Conditions

Before discussing a potential trade, the first step is to outline the conditions under which Herring has proposed this deal. That all begins with Herring including the most stunning shakeup of all, as LeBron James would be signing with the Philadelphia 76ers.

With a superstar-sized void along the perimeter, the Lakers would replace James by signing six-time All-NBA honoree Paul George.

With a tandem of Davis and George leading Los Angeles into 2024-25, the team would be placing an emphasis on improving its defense. Both players have earned All-Defense recognition on multiple occasions, as well as that of being among the best two-way players of their generation.

As Davis and George anchor the defense and potentially pace the scoring attack, the question is thus presented: Who runs the offense?

The instant answer would be D'Angelo Russell, but Herring has the former All-Star point guard joining the Orlando Magic—and that's where Young enters the fray.