Is the other (supposedly agreed upon) shoe dropping?
The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the 76ers are still very much a part of trade discussions that are primarily between the Wolves and Cavaliers. While Wolves’ boss Flip Saunders has long been rumored to be after Sixers’ forward Thaddeus Young, Thursday’s report suggested that the Andrew Wiggins-for-Kevin Love may go down as a two-team swap without the involvement of Philadelphia, or any other team for that matter.
On Friday morning, however, the media in Philly began reporting that Young will indeed be headed to Minnesota in exchange for Anthony Bennett and potentially a first-round draft pick.
By rule, Bennett would not be able to be traded from Minnesota for two full months after coming over from Cleveland, so this is actually illegal. Great job, Philadelphia Daily News.
That said, this swap could be consummated as part of a three-team deal with the Cavs. Bennett would technically still be coming straight from Cleveland, while Young would go from the Sixers to the Wolves, and Love and Wiggins would trade places as well. To make salaries match, Philly would have to acquire two of three from the poo-poo option platter of J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
The tough part here is the first-round pick, which is rumored to be headed from Cleveland to Minnesota, and also rumored to be Miami’s partially-protected selection in the 2015 draft. In the Young-to-Minnesota scenario, that pick would be parlayed, along with Bennett, to Philadelphia.
Here’s what a three-team trade could look like (no thanks to the Philadelphia Daily):
Minnesota receives: Thaddeus Young, Andrew Wiggins
Cleveland receives: Kevin Love
Philadelphia receives: Anthony Bennett, J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved, Miami first-round pick (from Cleveland)
Basically, Sixers’ boss Sam Hinkie would be getting a free first-round pick and a project in Anthony Bennett. It gets him off the hook if Young were to choose to not exercise his Early Termination Option in the summer of 2015, and that salary will be guaranteed to come off of Philly’s books in the form of Barea and Shved. If Bennett turns into something, great. If not, he gets a pick.
Cleveland isn’t giving up anything more than what we thought they were giving up. And Minnesota is swapping Bennett for Young, which is undisputedly a good thing, both now and forever. The concern is with the first-round pick that a sort-of-(and perpetually)-rebuilding organization like Minnesota is throwing Philadelphia’s way for what could be one year of a good player and nothing more.
On the other hand, Young could opt into his contract for 2015-16, which would be nice. But they still won’t be a very good team, unless Ricky Rubio or Andrew Wiggins takes a huge leap.
It’s tenable at best, but it’s also something I would probably do. Call me crazy, but a starting lineup of Rubio, Kevin Martin, Wiggins, Young, and Nikola Pekovic should actually be solid. A bench of Mo Williams, Zach LaVine, Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger, and Gorgui Dieng is probably streaky at best, but there could be something there if Budinger is healthy and LaVine is effective to some extent.
No, I’m not saying the Wolves will even sniff the playoffs, or even get close enough to dream of sniffing them. What I am saying is that they could win 30ish games and feel pretty good about carrying the same team into 2015-16 with another year of growth for LaVine, Wiggins, and Rubio.
And that just might make the acquisition of Young worth a middling first-round pick.
But who knows. I’m probably just coming from the perspective of someone that really does not want to watch another 15 win, 67 loss season. Can you blame me?