For every single one of his seven seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Thaddeus Young has been billed as “up and coming” star. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old and the Sixers, it was time to part ways.
Sixers GM Sam Hinkie knew when he was hired that he had to start from scratch with his roster. This unfortunately meant dealing players Philadelphia had drafted recently, such as Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. You can now add Young to that list.
The Sixers reportedly came to a “handshake agreement” with the Minnesota Timberwolves (once the Kevin Love trade is complete) last week to exchange Young for Anthony Bennett. Bennett is also part of the package the Cleveland Cavaliers will be sending to Minnesota for Love.
In a way, Philadelphia trading Young is like the plot of the film “Inception”. Only instead of it being a dream within a dream, it is a trade within a trade.
Just like Love, Young has one more year on his contract before the player option on his contract for the 2015-16 season. And similarly to Love, it is widely believed around the league that Young would reject his option and bolt at the end of the season had he remained with his current team.
The nail in the coffin for this eventually taking place occurred on Draft Day 2014, when the Sixers demonstrated that they were okay with being a rebuilding team again for this upcoming season by drafting the injured Joel Embiid and European prospect Dario Saric, who will not be able to sign an NBA contract for two years.
If this deal is approved by the NBA, it would be a steal for the Sixers. This is not to suggest that the Timberwolves got ripped off either. However, parting with an intriguing prospect like the 21-year-old Bennett is an interesting move considering how young Minnesota will be now.
Young is a quality player and will fit in nicely there, but you have to think that Minnesota could have gotten a little more out of this deal, considering the summer league Bennett had (where he showed up 20 pounds lighter and played very well), as well as Young not being committed to them past this season. If the Timberwolves stay consistent in their losing ways, Young could very well walk at the end of the season like he was going to do to anyway to Philadelphia.
We have seen this before from NBA teams. For whatever reason, after a big offseason, sometimes teams stumble right at the end of the building process. The Miami Heat did this in 2010 after they snagged LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh by signing Joel Anthony to a shocking, extremely generous five-year, $18 million deal.
Just like he did when he swiped Nerlens Noel and the draft pick that would become Saric in exchange for Holiday a year ago, Hinkie has potentially pulled off yet another heist.
The Sixers might have upset the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs two years ago when they were an eighth seed (after Derrick Rose went down with a season-ending injury in Game 1), but many could tell that Sixers team could not do much better than that performance. They would never be title contenders. This was proven after they went 34-48 the following season and Hinkie was brought on board to shake things up.
Based on their series of moves so far, the Sixers have a dream in mind. It is a vision of a shot-blocking, super athletic frontcourt of Embiid and Noel, with Bennett and Saric operating as stretch-four assassins on the perimeter. Reigning “Rookie of the Year” Michael Carter-Williams will also continue to improve his jump shot and drive to the basket as well.
For the Sixers, this will be a dream come true if it all works out according to plan. And if this dream does indeed one day become a reality, they will be an absolutely terrifying nightmare for the rest of the league.
Will Young or Bennett be on the 76ers next season? You can see for yourself by grabbing Sixers tickets from ABC Tickets today!