The original return was the last two No. 1 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, and a protected 2015 first-round pick. Now the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the trade will involve the Philadelphia 76ers as well, with 76ers’ forward Thaddeus Young going to Minnesota and a package including Bennett going to Philadelphia. The deal can’t be made official until Aug. 23, the date that will mark 30 days since Wiggins signed his rookie contract with Cleveland.
Wiggins is clearly the centerpiece of what Minnesota gets in this proposed trade, but president of basketball operations/head coach Flip Saunders clearly wanted to add someone that is more proven than Bennett and can contribute immediately. Young fits that bill at age 26, and he’s coming off a 2013-14 season where he averaged a career-high 17.9 points per game along with 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game in 79 games played.
Rumors of the Timberwolves’ interest in Young dates back a few weeks, but having interest and ultimately getting a player are two very different things. Saunders deserves credit for all parts of this proposed trade, from unloading an unhappy Love, to getting a potential superstar in Wiggins and adding a player who is theoretically entering his prime in Young. Young has two years and $19.3 million left on his contract, but he can choose to opt-out after next season and seek a big pay day in free agency. So the Timberwolves have a short window to convince Young to stay around long-term, and if he fails to reach expectations they aren’t locked into a bad long-term contract.
All in all, I like the deal for the Timberwolves. Any thought of keeping Love and going all-in for next season, in an attempt to convince him to stay, was at best ill-conceived. In this trade, which won’t be made official for another two weeks due a bizarre NBA rule, all three teams will be more than happy with the result.