Right now, there are two kinds of Philadelphia 76ers fans: those who are totally on board with what general manager Sam Hinkie is doing in terms of cleaning house and starting fresh with a collection of new young talent, and those who really, truly loved players like Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday and do not understand why the Sixers let them go.
Another member of that core group, Thaddeus Young, who had been with the team since the 2007-08 season when he was drafted by the team, was dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Alexey Shved, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a future first-round draft choice owned by the Miami Heat.
From a player standpoint, it appears that the Sixers just gave away a solid player for a couple of unproven ones and a low-level first-round draft pick. Young averaged 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.3 APG last season, and he was clearly their best player all last year. If Young had been willing to wait around to see if Hinkie’s master plan came to fruition, he probably would not have been traded. But it was clear that he was unhappy and he did not want to spend the prime years of his career with a rebuilding situation. This is more than understandable.
Young only had one year remaining on his contract before he had the decision to opt in with his player option for the 2015-16 season. It was widely believed that at the end of this year he would walk and the Sixers would get nothing back.
So the Sixers did something they have done with their last few transactions, which is taking a chance on a young, unproven player in Shved. The 25-year-old Russian has yet to be a stable playing situation with a coach who has given him a chance to shine, and now he will get his chance to impress Brett Brown in Philadelphia. This might also be his last chance to prove that he does belong in the NBA, because so far his shooting percentages have been below average and he needs to show the potential the Timberwolves saw in him when they brought him over during the 2012-13 season.
The Sixers saw an opportunity to get as much value as they probably could given Young’s contract situation and found a willing suitor in the Timberwolves that clearly loved him. Although Shved, Mbah a Moute and a first-round pick are a much different package from the Sixers acquiring Anthony Bennett as was originally reported, it is far from a terrible one. No one is expecting the Sixers to sniff the playoffs this year, and they have no problem being bad for another year if that means getting another good draft pick and shoring up their future prospect situation even more so.
They also will not have to wait out an awkward situation of trying to trade Young before the trade deadline in February like they were going to do anyways and now have one less distraction to worry about coming in to this new season.
There are a lot of good reasons why they made this deal, and with Young being the last member of their former core to go, it signals the end of the “cleaning house” part of the project.
Now comes the development stage centered on Michael Carter-Williams, Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and potentially players like Shved and Mbah a Moute should they play well this year.
The continued message being preached here is “patience”. It might take one more painful season to get to where the Sixers want to go, but it is clear they have their minds set on the future; and from what I can see, it looks very bright.
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