Thaddeus Young has had a great year so far, but will he remain with the team all season?
If the 76ers" target="_blank">Philadelphia 76ers want to have a legitimate shot at making a deep run in this year's playoffs, then they'll need to execute some trade that takes them to the next level.
A 15-20 record that has the team two games out of a playoff spot is hardly where Philadelphia wanted to be through its first 35 games.
But it's important to remember that it's still only 35 games.
There are 17 remaining matchups until the February 21st trade deadline, meaning that the Sixers have under two months to make that game-changing move that puts the franchise in a better direction.
On December 19, 2012, I wrote an article about trades that Philly should already be considering and used Thaddeus Young in almost every trade scenario. Young had moved into the starting rotation and couldn't have been thriving more. At the time, I felt like he would best be served as trade bait, rather than a member of the Sixers.
Fast-forward to present day and my thoughts have slightly changed.
I received quite a few comments about why I was wrong about dishing out Young, and many of them did a good job at changing my mind. You'll still see him as a part of some of the trades, but know that some of you have successfully changed my mind on where Young fits in to Philadelphia's future.
Okay, the prelude is over, so let's get into the trade talk.
Here's a look at five trades that could take Philly to the next level.
Bringing in Jefferson would add a post presence that the Sixers desperately need
It's no secret that Philadelphia's biggest weakness is its frontcourt. It's felt like years since Philly has had a legitimate big man that can control the paint on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court.
That only means that the Sixers' main priority is to trade for what they lack.
Hawes doesn't sound like much of an appealing option for other teams, but he has a respectable PER of 15.6. His long-range shooting is similar to former Jazz center Mehmet Okur, who became a fan favorite in the state of Utah. Unlike Okur, Hawes provides some kind of shot-blocking ability as well.
Richardson would provide some veteran leadership to some of Utah's younger backcourt players. Not to mention, every team is open to acquiring a long-range threat, so he has that going for him.
As for Jefferson, he has a $15 million expiring contract that the Jazz will be able to get rid of. That wouldn't be so bad if Utah felt like he was going to re-sign with the squad, but Utah is not much of a glamorous and desired location.
A jump shot that expands to around 15 feet, a deep post game with reliable moves over either shoulder and the ability to stop more physically demanding centers are all tools that Jefferson brings to the game.
Jefferson would be a welcome addition to the Philadelphia organization. Another advantage is that the Sixers wouldn't have to give up Young to get him.
Both Cousins and Fredette would add a lot of value to Philadelphia
What's that deal, you ask?
That's quite a mouthful.
Salmons is the definition of inefficiency, so the Kings would be more than happy to get his $8 million contract off their hands. Fredette doesn't fit in with Sacramento, so getting him out of town isn't too bad of an option, plus a fresh start for the former collegiate superstar could do him good.
Cousins is an impact player that needs direction. He has all of the talent in the world, but that means nothing if he can't even get onto the floor because of suspensions or communication problems.
Sixers coach Doug Collins could be the answer to his immaturity issues. He's worked with the best and his experience could be what Cousins needs to shape up.
This deal does involve Young leaving the city of Philadelphia, but something tells me that bringing in a player of Cousins' caliber would make it all okay.
Gay might need a new spot for his production to rise again
This is probably the highest risk/reward trade on the list, but the possibilities from this one could be great.
Like I've stated earlier, sending Young to another team is hard because of what Young can offer. He's a player that doesn't need anything done for him, but rather does it himself. Collins doesn't need to call plays to get him the ball or run any sets that actively involve Young, because he finds ways to involve himself regardless.
The payoff here is getting a player in Gay that can do it all. He can defend when he puts his mind to it, is an obviously talented scorer and doesn't have too many ego problems that make him hard to work with. His athleticism is among the best in the league and allows him to get to any spot on the floor, even giving him the ability to create his own shot because of his high release.
There is of course some kind of risk associated with this deal and that comes with his contract. His $16.4 million contract is a huge one to take on and Philly would have to give up quite a few players to do that.
Not sure if they'd be willing to do it.
He might look goofy, but Varejao has been very productive all season
It's no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers will listen if a team comes calling about forward-center Anderson Varejao. They've been open to moving him since last summer and being 8-27 doesn't exactly bode well for the team being competitive while Varejao, 30, is still in his prime.
On the other hand, Cleveland simply isn't going to give him away. Though Varejao's career arc may not match the Cavs', he's still a big man producing a 14-14-3 line this season at a (relatively) minuscule cost.
The Cavs want not only draft picks for the future, but also premium talent in return.
Are the Sixers willing to give up that premium talent for the 30-year-old center?
It has to be pretty unlikely.
Varejao's $8.3 million contract limits the type of players that Philly can give up. Thaddeus Young has an $8.2 million deal that would work, but it's just not quite worth it.
Philly would have to give up Spencer Hawes and Jason Richardson for Varejao and Jeremy Pargo in order for the deal to work out money-wise.
That's great for the Sixers, but not so much for the Cavs.
Gasol's days in a Lakers uniform are numbered
Hopefully mentioning Bynum and Gasol made you laugh a bit because who knows when Bynum will be back, but all jokes aside, they were very successful together with the Lakers.
The three-team deal has the Sixers sending Hawes, Richardson and Kwame Brown to the the Phoenix Suns, the Suns sending Marcin Gortat and Michael Beasley to the Lakers and the Lakers sending Gasol and Darius Morris to the Sixers.
Did you get all of that?
In the grand scheme of things, the Sixers don't lose much in getting a player of Gasol's caliber. The Lakers are rewarded with a player that can come off the bench and score in Beasley and a starting center in Gortat. Phoenix doesn't get any better, but they also get rid of Beasley and his attitude problems.
Philadelphia acquiring Pau would be a good investment any way you look at it. On top of that, they get to keep Young and move him to small forward (his more natural position) when Bynum returns from injury.
Sounds like a good situation.