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 Trade

As the Los Angeles Lakers look for ways to acquire Trae Young, one fact becomes painfully clear: There's no easy way to do it. The Lakers will need to part ways with two starters to match salaries, as well as multiple draft picks to convince the Atlanta Hawks to part ways with their franchise player.

While Herring left the details somewhat open-ended, the general idea of the trade they presented played out as follows:

Trae Young to the Lakers

That's a hefty price to pay, but it would ultimately create a big three of Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Young.

The biggest issue in any potential trade for Young is the fact that his salary is almost impossible to match without gutting the current roster. Young is entering the third season of a five-year, $215,159,700 contract, with $43,031,940 owed in 2024-25.

For perspective: Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves are the two highest-paid Lakers after Davis, James, and Russell, and they're owed less than $30 million combined in 2024-25.

With Herring ruling out the possibility of Russell opting in, that means both Hachimura and Reaves—full-time starters—would be traded. Along with them would be one of Gabe Vincent or Jarred Vanderbilt, both of whom are owed in the neighborhood of $11 million next season.

With a combination of Hachimura, Reaves, and either Vanderbilt or VIncent still unlikely to get the job done, at least two first-round draft picks would thus be attached to the deal.

Realistically, all three of the first-round draft picks that the Lakers can trade would be included—one less than the Minnesota Timberwolves gave up in the Rudy Gobert trade and the same amount as the Indiana Pacers paid for Pascal Siakam.