NBA Trade Rumors: Thaddeus Young Already Drawing Interest from Contenders

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 29, 2021

San Antonio Spurs' Thaddeus Young takes part in the team's NBA basketball Media Day, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

NBA championship contenders reportedly have "already inquired" about whether the San Antonio Spurs are looking to flip veteran forward Thaddeus Young, who was acquired as part of an August trade that sent DeMar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls.

ESPN's Zach Lowe reported the news Wednesday while describing Young as an "obvious trade candidate."

The 33-year-old Georgia Tech product is coming off a strong offensive season with the Bulls.

Young averaged 12.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 55.9 percent from the field across 68 appearances (23 starts) during the 2020-21 campaign.

While most the advanced models agree it was an efficient season for him on offense, some disagree about his impact at the defensive end.

FiveThirtyEight's Raptor rated Young as a positive defensive contributor (+1.4), but ESPN's Real Plus-Minus graded him negatively (-2.0), which dropped his overall ranking among qualified power forwards to 48th.

In turn, it's hard to know exactly what the Spurs could command in return for the 2007 first-round pick, who could also provide intangible value to San Antonio as a leader in a mostly young locker room.

Young explained Tuesday on the Gimme the Hot Sauce podcast (h/t KENS' Jeff Garcia) he enjoys being the "glue guy" and has already talked with new teammate Keldon Johnson about his willingness to defer offensively.

"I want to make your job easier. I am not coming here to take your spot or to take anybody else's spot," Young said about his conversation with Johnson. "I'm coming here to help. I'm coming here to make sure we all are putting in work together so we can win games."

The Spurs reached the play-in tournament last season with a 33-39 record, and they have enough high-upside players in Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV, Devin Vassell and Jakob Poeltl to think the team could take a step forward in 2021-22.

So San Antonio will probably wait closer to the trade deadline to decide whether Young, who can become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, should land on the trade block despite contenders' active interest.

The Spurs are scheduled to begin the regular season Oct. 20 when they host the Orlando Magic.