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Is Trae Young positioning himself to be a Lakers’ Player?

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks putting the ball through the basketball net
Alexander Jonesi / CC BY-SA

Why does Trae Young’s move from one sports agent to another impact on the Lakers? A good question – and one that some would answer has no impact at all. However, the hairs on the arms of some fans have been raised by a certain career move by the star player – as it is one that they feel will have significance in the future. Let’s break this down for you and show you how some people are putting one and one together and getting a few thousand.

Who is Trae Young?

So, Rayford Trae Young is a 20-year-old NBA player who currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks, he is in his rookie year. He played college ball at Oklahoma and was the fifth pick in the 2018 NDA draft. So far, so impressive – but not so relevant to the Lakers. Indeed, the Hawks have options on Young for many years to come, so it gets more and more puzzling why people are making the connections.

Maybe it is wishful thinking. Trae Young is an NBA All-Star for 2020 and he was chosen as part of the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2019. In 2018, he was the NCAA season scoring leader and the assists leader. He was considered one of the best player on offer in the 2017 recruiting class, as nominated by Scout.com and ESPN. ESPN felt he was the third-best point guard on offer that year.  On February 20th this yea Young scored a career-best 50 points in a win against Miami Heat, hitting 8 out 15 three-pointers. In short, he’s a damn fine player.

More relevantly, who are Klutch Sports?

It is hard to see why there is any connection made between Young and the Lakers, as the Hawks are showing no sign of a loss of faith in the young player. You would imagine his stats make him a cornerstone of the future development of the team out in Atlanta. Therefore, the more relevant question focuses on Klutch Sports and what this has to do with the LA Lakers.

First, it is worth noting that Omar Wilkes was an agent with Octagon Sports and left to join Rich Paul at Klutch Sports. Wilkes, who also happens to be Trae Young’s agent, became the head of basketball at Klutch, leaving room for Paul to take on the CEO role. Although Trae Young had the option of remaining with Octagon, he instead chose to jump over to Klutch with the agent he had forged such a strong relationship with. It was at this point that the rumors about Young’s move to the Lakers began, as Klutch Sports is widely regarded as the face of the Lakers. Even though the majority of Klutch’s clients are not Lakers, they are the agents of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Cladwell-Pope.

So, commentators, journalists and fans have put the details together and come up with a masterplan move by Trae Young to hit the heights with an elite team. He is a talented player, hitting All-Star teams but playing for a lowly Hawks team. He is a very large fish in a tiny pond, and you sense he would be hungry to play with talent that could fast-forward his career. It is actually not a bad assumption when you lay that out on the table.

What does Young say about all this?

basketball ball on black background.

Young’s father has made it clear that the change of agent has nothing to do with the Lakers. The move to Klutch is a means of Trae mapping out his own career path – and he certainly has no plans to follow the path of others. His father is adamant that Trae never follows but carves out his career his own way. He points out that Trae would never have gone to a local high school if he thought he would reach superstardom in the same way people always have. 

The theme of Rayford Young’s denial comes down to loyalty. He points to the time he was told to play for Kentucky and not Oklahoma if he wanted to be a lottery pick. He went with Oklahoma. It is clear that Trae Young, through his father, wants to assure the Atlanta fans that he is one of theirs – and he knows what he wants to accomplish with this team. He has too much pride to make the leap to the Lakers because he would feel that it spoke of his need of stars like LeBron to make him great. Rayford is clear that his son will make his own stardom.

So what?

So, what does all this mean? A good question. Young is on his rookie contract with the Hawks and will become a restricted free agent at the end of this contract. However, he is still under Atlanta control for many years after that. The Atlanta Hawks would be fools to give up on a star player that could lift their stature in the NBA, making them a recognisable force. However, money talks and the idea of teaming up with James and Davis must be appealing, even to a player who believes he doesn’t need superstars to lift him up. 

The other so what is that the Lakers would likely love to have some of the power and precision that Trae Young is exhibiting so early in his career. 

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