5 Teams Thaddeus Young Should Leave the Philadelphia 76ers For
If Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young isn't sick of all the losing yet, he probably will be soon.
Young is by far the most experienced player left on Philadelphia's roster, and so wasting the prime of his career on a bad team might not be all that appealing. Here's what Young recently told Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times about his player option worth $9.72 million for the 2015-16 season:
It’s a lot of money to leave on the table. At the end of the day, I’m not a guy that spends a lot of money. It’s definitely a card that can be played. That depends on many different factors. Obviously, I want to win. Obviously, I want to be winning on a championship team. At the end of the day, like I said, it’s a card that could be played.
Because it seems unlikely that Philadelphia will be a contender next season, it seems probable that Young will opt out of his deal and join an already deep class of free agents for the 2015 offseason, so long as he isn't traded beforehand.
Here are a list of five teams that could use Young and could potentially satisfy what he's looking for.
The Toronto Raptors certainly don't fit the traditional profile of a contending team, but it looks like there's a nice core in place.
Obviously a lot can change over the course of the next year. But if Raptors GM Masai Ujiri decides against blowing it up, Toronto should have one of the better starting lineups in the league, particularly given the expected continued improvements of DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross to go along with the already stellar play of Kyle Lowry, who very well could be retained in free agency this offseason.
What's missing from that core, however, is a two-way power forward who can make plays on both ends. Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson are both good players, but it's hard to tell how much longer they'll both be in Toronto, especially since Patterson is going to hit free agency and Johnson will be on an expiring deal next season.
Toronto should have a good deal of cap space for the 2015 offseason, which is when Young could potentially become a free agent if he turns down his player option.
That could open up a slot for the 25-year-old forward, and he could really thrive with a true center protecting the rim and talented offensive players around him. Young could give the Raptors one of the most exciting starting fives in the league.
If Young wants to join a team on the rise, Toronto should be pretty high on his list.
Speaking of teams on the rise, how about the Phoenix Suns? With Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe holding down the backcourt, Phoenix should be a player in the Western Conference for years to come, so long as Bledsoe is retained this offseason in restricted free agency.
The Suns also should have three first-round draft picks this year, as well as the Lakers' top-five protected pick in 2015 and a top-12 first-round pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves. That's a lot of firepower to add another star, and when you combine that with the cap space Phoenix should have for the 2015 offseason, there's an awful lot to like here.
If Young wants to play for a competitive team that really embraces an uptempo style, Phoenix would seem to be a perfect fit. The Suns may not have much of a need for a power forward given the play of Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, but at the right price, adding a player of Young's talents would be hard to argue with.
We'll have to wait and see what Phoenix does in the upcoming year, but this very well could be a premium free-agent destination very, very soon.
It's not hard to imagine the Houston Rockets being Young's desired destination. That may be particularly true since 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie came from the Rockets organization and might be more willing to deal with Daryl Morey and get Young there relatively soon.
To that point, Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com reported earlier this season that, "Young has been a target of the Rockets’ all year."
With likely interest from all three parties, Young could end up playing next to Dwight Howard in an offense that heavily relies on transition opportunities, which would be a perfect match for Young's skill set.
It seems like a trade would be the best way to get Young to Houston, as the Rockets aren't likely to have the cap space so long as they re-sign Chandler Parsons.
There isn't a team with a hole at power forward that's still this close to winning a championship, so Houston makes plenty of sense as a landing spot for Young.
While a lot will depend on what happens with Zach Randolph and his player option this offseason, as well as what happens with restricted free agent Ed Davis, it is possible that the Memphis Grizzlies enter the 2015 offseason with a need at the power forward position.
Young would certainly seem to fit in with the "Grit and Grind" mentality Memphis plays with, as he's a great hustler who stays really active on both ends. Memphis may be looking for a little more stretch at the 4, but Young isn't a complete non-threat from behind the arc, and he can still hit jumpers from where Randolph did most of his work.
Truth be told, just about anyone can play next to Marc Gasol anyway, so Young would be a good talent grab who would bring some added athleticism to the frontcourt. This is assuming Gasol re-signs with the Grizzlies in the 2015 offseason, of course.
Memphis could look a lot different by then, but that's an organization with a good infrastructure, which is something Young will likely covet.
If Kevin Love were to opt out of his contract and become a free agent in the 2015 offseason, that would leave a gaping hole at power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves to fill.
Although Young would be taking a risk joining a team in the Western Confernece that's a fringe competitor even with Love, at least there's some good young pieces in Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic to play with.
More likely than not, this would be a second or third option for both Young and the Wolves, but desperation could set in if Young doesn't find a welcoming market and the Wolves just need to grab talent. At least in that sense, it would be a pretty decent fit.
And truth be told, just about anywhere looks better than Philadelphia right now, as the Sixers don't have much incentive to win next year, as their pick will go to the Miami Heat if they make the playoffs.
Young should be able to force his way out before he has to decline a player option, but this seems like a somewhat realistic scenario if a few other pieces fall first.
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