The picture is getting clearer when it comes to the biggest multi-team trade that still hasn’t actually happened in this NBA offseason: The Minnesota Timberwolves will acquire Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers and will only give up Alexey Shved, Luc Mbah a Moute and a first round draft pick for the talented power forward.
This of course is a continuation of the Kevin Love trade. Love goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, in return for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and that first round draft pick in 2015 which they flip to the 76ers. In contrary to the earlier rumors, Bennett was never going to be part of the deal between the Timberwolves and the Sixers, and was always going to be joining Wiggins as the tries to pick himself up from a terrible rookie season, especially when considering he was a number one pick.
All the players involved in this trade have expiring deals. Young does have an early termination option before the 2015-2016 season, but he’ll be giving up $9.9 million, something he might not be able to make on the open market. For a player still in his mid-20’s, often money is the most important thing, and it’s hard to believe someone will offer him an eight figure average salary unless he has a monster year for the Timberwolves.
Despite losing Love, it seems Saunders comes off as quite the wise decision maker, something not often said about people in the Timberwolves Front Office. He lost Love, but gained Wiggins, Bennett and Thaddeus Young, who averaged 17.9 points per game last season, while giving up Moute who probably doesn’t have a lot of NBA time left, Shved who is a decent backup point guard, nothing more, and a draft pick that wasn’t going to be very high anyway.
And the Philadelphia 76ers? They keep gearing and building for some time in the far future. They have Michael Carter-Williams who will continue to try and develop without getting frustrated on a very bad team, while Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, when they’ll actually be playing, are potentially other foundation blocks to rely upon. The rest? Just a stock of draft picks Sam Hinkie is hoarding, hoping to make some good use of them one day.
The trade doesn’t make the Timberwolves a playoff team, but they haven’t lost significant depth and seem to be a team that should be fun to watch next season, and not a franchise on its way to a collapse just because its best player left. The 76ers? They might not be the worst team in the NBA, but they should be pretty close to that mark once again, in another season that’s about getting a draft pick, not winning.