With the 2014 NBA Draft upcoming, many Sixers fans are content with the 3rd and 10th overall picks; with those two selections in a deep draft, the Sixers are likely to get a shot at a franchise cornerstone and a shot at another high-quality starter.
Just because fans are content, however, does not mean General Manager Sam Hinkie is. With rumors swirling that the Lakers and Kings may be willing to part with their lottery selections in favor of veteran talent, one has to consider what Hinkie may be trying to pull off. The most exciting trade chip that Hinkie possesses is forward Thaddeus Young, who averaged 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game this past season; Young can also opt out of his contract after this upcoming season, so we here at Khandyman Sports would not be doing our due diligence if we did not examine the possibilities.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
The first scenario involving Thad was reported recently by ESPN in their updated mock draft (subscription required), in which Chad Ford reported that the Sixers inquired about possibly dealing Thad and the 3rd overall pick to the Cavs for the 1st overall pick. It is becoming more and more clear that the Sixers are fans of former Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins, and they might need to make a deal to move up in order to grab him. Shipping Thad to a team in need of a proven scoring threat at the wing could be a way to do just that.
2. Sacramento Kings
The second scenario many have considered is sending a package including Young to the Sacramento Kings for the 8th overall pick. It was reported after the draft lottery that Sacramento is looking to add a veteran in exchange for their top-ten selection, and Young could be their guy.
The only issue with this type of move is that in exchange for swapping a lottery pick for Thad and a mid-second rounder, Sacramento would likely expect Philadelphia to take a big contract, like Jason Thompson’s. Thompson has three years left on his deal, worth a total of over $19 million. While having the flexibility of three lottery picks is really, really nice, Sam Hinkie will have to balance that against the long-term cap repercussions a deal like this may bring.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Another lottery team that the Sixers could look to become business partners with are the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the 7th overall pick. The Lakers are not exactly used to rebuilding, and Thad would be immediately be the second or third-best player on that team. Also, Lakers point guard Steve Nash is one of the league’s best pick-and-roll initiators, and Thad had one of the highest P-and-R percentages in the league, scoring 63% of the time according to MySynergySports.
The likely course of events here would be Hinkie dealing Thad, No. 10, and a 2nd-round pick (either No. 39 or No. 47) for the No. 7 pick and a player. While this may seem like a steep price to move up three picks, that might just be the difference between a difference-maker like Julius Randle or Noah Vonleh and a mere above-average starter like Nik Stauskas or James Young.
4. Phoenix Suns
The final team that makes more than enough sense for the Sixers would be the Phoenix Suns. According to Liberty Ballers’ Jake Fischer, Phoenix was very interested in Thad at the trade deadline.
The Suns have three first-round picks this year, Nos 14, 18, and 27. The Suns could desperately use some more scoring production from the wing, not to mention their infatuation with running the pick-and-roll (which, as I mentioned earlier, Thad excels at). Swapping Thad and the No. 32 pick for No. 18 and exciting but seldom-used shooting guard prospect Archie Goodwin would be a solid deal for both teams.
Other scenarios involving Thad would mostly involve the Sixers acquiring mid-to-late first-rounders in exchange for absorbing egregious one-year deals. Teams like Chicago (19th pick), who owe Carlos Boozer over $16 million this season, and Memphis (22nd pick), who own Tayshaun Prince’s $8 million contract, come to mind. In fact, both teams could use scoring help at the 3 or off the bench, and ESPN even reported that Chicago is indeed looking to move Boozer. Thad and a late 2nd-rounder for a first-rounder and Boozer/Prince would make sense for both sides.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless for Sam Hinkie. With a valuable trading chip in Thad Young, there are many avenues he could take to improve his team’s draft stock before June 26 rolls around.