Thaddeus Young requested a trade last week, according to the fine reporting of Liberty Ballers’ Jake Fischer. This is huge, if trade rumors are the sort of thing you’re into. I imagine that’s the case for most of you, who like me, are sitting in your virtual GM seats, fucking around with the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, and pretending like you have some sort of insight on what’s going on in conversations between Sam Hinkie, his baba ganoush Daryl Morey, and whoever got suckered into the conference call.
But does the reported request – not demand – change anything?
This is interesting news, because we rarely hear a peep out of Thad. He’s a company man (is that a good thing?) – so even a formal request seems a bit out of character. The “request” itself, however, should have little to no impact on his future with the team.
We’re quick to compare this to Omer Asik’s situation with Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets. (For those not following Sixers-West: Asik, one of the NBA’s best defensive centers, has been designated to the bench because he and Dwight Howard are not compatible. Now, the 6-foot-11 Turk wants out. He’s been the subject of 432 trade rumors involving 17 different teams.)
The Young situation, though, is different. For one, the Sixers are a lottery-bound team and unlike the Rockets, they are as interested in losing games as winning them. Let’s pretend Thad’s supposed disgruntlement hurts team chemistry. While that doesn’t necessarily help matters–chemistry is good, even if regular season wins are not–the Sixers have little at stake for this season. And this is assuming that Thad’s at all disgruntled. Sure, he said the following (via Chris Vito of the Delco Times) “I’m used to playing with guys who are four- or five-year veterans in this league and they can play. And then you have one- or two-year guys who are fresh and trying to make a name for themselves.” But who is to say that’s not an entirely accurate assessment of what’s going on?
Thad, like Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, will remain in trade talks until he’s gone or the deadline passes. And as a two-way player, now armed with a 3-point shot, he might bring back the most value of any Sixer. But Thad has a few years left on his contract unlike his tradable teammates, and while that could make him less appealing to a team that’s hesitant to take on a longer term contract (albeit, a fair one), that means he’s Philadelphia 76ers property beyond the trade deadline and into next season, when wins could become a priority. Thus, Thad’s on-court and off-court value aren’t going anywhere.
There was no rush to deal Young before last week and I don’t see a no-teeth trade request speeding up the process. If and when the Sixers’ best two-way player is traded, it’ll be on Hinkie’s terms, not Thad’s.