Looking At The Timberwolves As A Thaddeus Young Trade Partner

Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:43 PM

The Sixers have long been mentioned as a potential suitor to the seemingly inevitable Kevin Love trade, and due to their cap space and willingness to absorb salary in return for assets will be rumored as a potential suitor until that trade is mercifully completed¹

It’s now being reported that not only could the Sixers help facilitate a Kevin Love to Cleveland trade, but that the Timberwovles are specifically targeting Sixers forward Thaddeus Young to replace the outbound Love.

This combination of the Sixers being able to facilitate a deal financially as well as having an asset that Minnesota is targeting is a pretty good combination for Sam Hinkie to generate leverage.  So what can Minnesota offer the Sixers?

Minnesota’s Future Draft Pick Situation

One of the assets that Sam Hinkie seems to consistently be targeting are future draft picks.  Unfortunately for the Sixers, Minnesota owes their 2015 1st round draft pick to Phoenix2.  The pick is top 12 protected in 2015 and 2016, and, if not conveyed by then, turns into a 2016 2nd round pick and a 2017 2nd round pick.  Odds are that Minnesota ends up not giving away this first round pick because of the protections, but because there’s the possibility that they will, and because they do not have any 1st round picks coming their way, Minnesota cannot trade a first round pick until at least 20173.  Not that a pick 3+ years down the road is something that Sam Hinkie isn’t willing to wait for, but it’s not something to get overly excited about at this stage of the game, unless there are virtually no protections on it from Minnesota’s side.

The 2nd round picks that Minnesota has aren’t all that much more interesting, as they owe their 2015 second round draft pick to Houston.  They do have an incoming 2015 second round pick from Denver, as well as an incoming 2017 second from New Orleans, but they both project to be much later in the draft than their own pick would have been.

Cleveland’s Future Draft Pick Situation

The more interesting picks would be the ones coming from Cleveland.  Cleveland is currently set to trade its 2016 first round pick to Boston (top 10 protected) in the Jarrett Jack salary dump from earlier this offseason.  However, Cleveland is set to have two 2015 1st round picks: Miami’s 2015 first rounder (top 10 protected), as well as the less-favorable pick between Cleveland and Chicago’s 2015 1st round picks.  Either of these could be had in a trade.

The most enticing pick, however, might be the pick that Cleveland is owed from Memphis.  The pick has weird protections: it is not conveyed if it falls in the top 5 OR between 15 and 30 in 2015 or 2016, but becomes only top 5 protected in 2017 and 2018, before finally being fully unprotected in 2019.

This as a smart move on Cleveland’s part, as the second half of the protections (protected 15-30 for the next two years) was an effort to try to increase the chances that the pick becomes a lottery pick.  Memphis declined slightly last year, from 56-26 to 50-32, coming in as the 7th seed in a tough Western Conference.  It’s no guarantee that the Grizzlies will make the playoffs both of the next two seasons.  Combine that with little chance of them being bad and falling into the top 5, and that’s a potential lottery pick that could be available.

However, it’s the chance that Memphis does make the playoffs the next two years that really becomes interesting, as Zach Randolph enters his mid-thirties and the chance that a top 10 pick becomes a realistic scenario.  If you can delay the gratification (and Sam Hinkie has shown that he is willing to do so), there’s a potentially very attractive pick available in this three team deal.

Young players of interest

With Minnesota’s interest in obtaining Young, their willingness to include a younger player may be spiked.  What do they have to offer?

The two most interesting names are their two most recent 1st round draft picks: Gorgui Dieng and Zach LaVine, drafted 21st in 2013 and 13th in 2014,  respectively.  Dieng averaged an impressive 12.2 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 15 starts late in the season for the Wolves. LaVine is one of the more athletic wing prospects to come out in some time.  While I’m not necessarily his biggest fan, he’s the kind of long, athletic wing prospect that I could see Sam Hinkie targeting as a guy who could eventually out-shoot his expected contribution, if he can ever figure out the game.  I would be incredibly surprised if either of these guys are moved in the trade, though, as they’re the kind of young assets Minnesota is going to need in the long rebuild they’re about to enter.

The other names to keep an eye on are Shabazz Muhammad, Alexey Shved, and Chase Budinger.  Budinger is entering the second year of a 3 year contract4.  While he’s unlikely to have too much untapped potential, he’s useful and, at $5 million per year, on a relatively friendly contract.  Shved, at 25, has thus far struggled to become an efficient option on offense, but he has the kind of size, fluidity, and feel for the game that Sam Hinkie could have an interest in, and would fit right in with the Sixers other perimeter threats who aren’t much of a threat from the perimeter.  Muhammad, who slid down the first round in the 2013 draft all the way to 14th, struggled during his rookie season and played only 290 total minutes.  It’s hard to really see Muhammad as a Sam Hinkie type of player, with his defensive indifference, poor steal rate, mid-range based game, but he has only one guaranteed year left on his deal5, and it’s possible Hinkie could take him on as a talented reclamation project, but that would be as a throw-in to the deal, not as a centerpiece.

For the most part I haven’t touched on the Cavs players, mostly in the interest of brevity, and because those have been talked about extensively over the past few weeks.  This article was mostly centered around the new information, which was the Wolves interest in Thaddeus Young.  That being said, some of the Cavs players (Dion Waiters, mostly) are obviously in play.  Anthony Bennett has been rumored as well, but I would guess he is more likely to head to Minnesota.  That being said, the incredibly disappointed (but looking much better in summer league) former #1 overall pick is somebody to keep an eye on.

What else would the Sixers have to take back?

With the Wolves over the cap6, it’s very likely that the Sixers would have to take back a less-than-desirable contract to help facilitate the deal.  From the Wolves side, that would likely be Kevin Martin, who has three years and roughly $21 million remaining, with the final season being a team option. Martin would provide the Sixers with an offensive option from the perimeter and plays the “3 point and at-the-rim” style of offense that Hinkie and Brown are likely to employ (he has shot 38.5% from three point range for his career and averaged 6.0 free throw attempts per game in just under 31 minutes), but Martin will turn 32 later this year, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, and as such isn’t likely to be a long term piece for the teams future.  Ideally you wouldn’t want him eating into the teams cap space, as the Sixers are likely to start looking to supplement their drafting with finding supporting pieces through free agency.  But taking back Martin’s contract is likely the cost of doing business in this trade, and will allow the Sixers to raise their asking price, because not only are the Wolves getting a player they want (Thaddeus Young), but they’re also shedding an undesirable contract (Martin).  Martin would at least provide a little bit of relief on the offensive end and allow Michael Carter-Williams to play a role that he’s more likely to look to fill long term than being the top offensive option.

Outside of that, Minnesota’s cap situation is fairly positive.  They could take back Alexey Shved, who is on the final year of his rookie deal at $3.2 million.  I talked about Shved briefly above, and his combination of inconsistency from the perimeter and struggles finishing around the hoop make it a little bit grim whether he’d ever really contribute enough offensively.  He is wonderfully creative off the pick and roll, which could help the Sixers ball movement some in the half-court.  If he could ever develop consistency as a jump shooter7 he could carve a roll for himself in the NBA, but that’s an “if” at this point.


Assets available in a trade:

  • “First available” (2017) Minnesota 1st round draft pick
  • 2015 Miami first round pick (top 10 protected)
  • “Less favorable” 2015 1st round pick between Cleveland and Chicago
  • 2015 Memphis first round pick (protected 1-5, 15-30 in 2015 & 2016, protected 1-5 in 2017 & 2018, unprotected in 2019)
  • Young players like Gorgui Dieng, Zach LaVine, Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger, and Shabazz Muhammad.

In my opinion, the Memphis pick, as well as a future Minnesota pick (depending on the protections) are the two most intriguing assets that might actually be viable for the Sixers to obtain, although it would be difficult for me to see Minnesota giving up that high of a pick, even far down the line, in such a trade.

I haven’t mentioned Andrew Wiggins up to this point because I don’t think there’s any real chance the Sixers have in prying him away from Minnesota.  He is Minnesota’s prize in giving up Kevin Love, and nothing the Sixers have to offer can get him away from them, in my opinion.  Of course, I’d love to be wrong.

Unfortunately, because of the Andrew Wiggins signing, this is a rumor/situation that will drag one for quite a bit longer.


1With Cleveland signing Andrew Wiggins, the trade (assuming Andrew Wiggins is involved in it) cannot be traded until 30 days have passed.  Wiggins signed on July 24th, meaning the earliest that he could be traded is August 23rd.  It also means that when Wiggins is traded his outgoing salary will count for roughly $5.5 million, assuming he gets 120% of the rookie scale contract for the #1 pick.  Had he previously been traded they would have been trading his draft rights, and his (expected) salary would not have been included in matching salaries for the trade.

2The Stepien rule dictates that a team can’t fail to have a first round pick in back to back years. Two key points on this rule: 1) It only deals with future picks owed, not the past. Meaning if a team didn’t have a pick in the 2014 draft, that’s irrelevant. They can actually not have a pick in 2014 and still trade their 2015 pick, it’s just they can’t fail to have a pick in the next two upcoming drafts. 2) It only specifies not having a pick, not necessarily not having their own pick. So if a team, say Minnesota, already is set to pay out their 2015 pick. They can trade their 2016 pick as well, as long as they acquire an additional first round pick in 2015 or 2016.

3Unless Minnesota acquires another pick in the deal. Remember, the Stepien rule just specifies that they cannot fail to have first round picks in consecutive years. If they acquire another one, they can trade their own pick 2 years in a row, although the Sixers would still have to wait until the debt to Phoenix has been paid, meaning the Sixers would get Minnesota’s first available pick.

42015-16, the final season in Budinger’s contract, is a player option.

5For rookie scale (first round pick) contracts, the first two seasons are guaranteed, then season three and four are team options. Muhammad is entering his second season, and the option for his third season would have to be picked up by the end of October, similar to the situation the Sixers were in when they acquired Royce White last summer.

6Even though the Sixers are under the cap, the Wolves are not, so they have to send out money in order to take on Thad’s contract. See Larry Coon’s excellent cbafaq.com for more information.

7So far Shved has shot 29.5% from nba three point range on 390 attempts in his nba career. He shot 23% overall on jump shots last season, 27.7% on catch and shoots jumpers, a horrible 16.2% on jump shots off the dribble, and 22.6% when he shoots off the pick and roll. All are well below average.


Derek Bodner

Derek Bodner is a credentialed reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers independently for DerekBodner.com. He is also a college basketball scout for DraftExpress.com, and an NBA contributor for The Ringer. Contact Information: derek.bodner@draftexpress.com / @DerekBodnerNBA

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  • ojr107

    Hi Derek, Congrats on the new site.

    It seems strange that Minnesota would trade for Wiggins/Love at the same time. Wiggins represents rebuilding, while Young represents trying to stay competitive. I What do you think their thinking is regarding these possible moves? Maybe they think Wiggins is more NBA-ready than most?

    • Derek Bodner

      Not really a new site. Just something I setup quickly to supplement LB, as we have a lot of writers covering the team over there, and I wanted a place to be able to write my own personal opinions on stuff that was already well covered there.

      I’m not sure Young is necessarily a win-now type of player, as he’s only 25 still. If Young would want to be there long term, I think he’s a valuable piece for a rebuilding team. But I can’t see him really wanting to be there long term because he wants to go to a team who can contend. He’d have much the same issue there that he has here, so I do agree that their interest in him is a little bit strange for that reason.

      I certainly think Wiggins is NBA ready, in that he can contribute with his defense, athleticism, and solid outside shot. But I think that Minnesota team would be years away from the playoffs.

  • jholt1980

    Not big on any of the realist options from either the T-Wolves or the Cavs. I’d like the picks but man, 2017s would be hard to swallow. I love everything Hinkie and company are doing but it is rough. If they could somehow land LaVine, Bennett, or Deing at least it would give us something to watch.

  • So Martin and Shved or Budinger for Thad, I don’t see how on earth that’s attractive to Hinkie. Those are terrible suggestions as possibilities and I’m not sure why you bring them up. Don’t like one of those three players. If you’re taking on Martin’s contract which is a bad contract you have to get much more than Shved, Budinger types.

    • Derek Bodner

      There’s definitely a little bit of communication there. I was just listing out guys that you could potentially see come the Sixers way, either because of the Sixers interest in them as a prospect or because of Minnesota’s eagerness to move them and their contract. At no point did I mean to imply that all it would take was any combination of them.

      I don’t see any way that there is a combination that doesn’t include at least one pick, Dieng, or LaVine that Hinkie would accept.

  • long_life_full_cream_milk

    It seems much more likely, at least if Kevin Martin is part of the deal, the Sixers end up with assets and players from the Cavs than the Timberwolves, since the Wolves really only have two young players that might be of any interest at all, Dieng and Lavine and the Sixers would actually be surrendering a lot in any trade.

    Kevin Martin’s contract is one of the worst in the league, considering both length and size. Unlike Jeremy Lin, this contract eats into cap space next year AND the year after, and we know that the Sixers weren’t willing to take on Lin for a pick that’s likely to fall between 23 and 30. There’s no way they take on Kevin Martin unless they get at least one asset significantly better than a 2015 1st that’s likely to fall I lay the end of the first round.

    Then we have to consider giving up Thaddeus Young, who has real value because he’s been a good player in the league for several years now. And we know the Sixers value him at least at the level of a mid 1st round draft pick. They aren’t giving him up for nothing, but since there probably aren’t two mid 1st round draft picks available in this trade, that leaves Anthony Bennett and maybe Dellavadova as the most attractive possibilities (unless, especially after this offseason, a very unlikely and complicated trade for Rubio is in the works.)

    Dieng would be a good outcome too, though he will almost certainly help the Sixers win more games than they want to. (You play Noel and Dieng together and other teams are going to have trouble scoring at the rim, which is usually the most efficient zone.)

    That’s not even considering possibly taking on more salary for Minnesota and Cleveland (the latter which almost certainly has to happen in any trade involving Young.) Haywood, Lucas, Budinger, Barea, Mbah a Moute, Murphy, all these guys could have a part in this trade and Haywood, Lucas and Murphy almost certainly all will.

    I think the most likely scenario is the Sixers take on Martin, Barea, Haywood, and Lucas, give up Young and get Bennett and the Memphis 1st. Minnesota gets wiggins, young and murphy. Cleveland gets love. Though instead of Bennett I could easily see Dieng or Lavine. I just think that both of those players would be accompanied by one or two players from Cleveland, either Dellavadova, Joe Harris or both.

    There’s a lot of pieces potentially being moved in this deal, so it’s hard to gauge what each player and asset is worth individually. But if we look at the Sixers past history and reluctance to make deals both involving Young and taking on bad contracts just for late firsts (J. Lin), what the Sixers get out if this deal should be considerable.

    • Derek Bodner

      Yeah. For the most part, I agree. I didn’t include the Cavs prospects because they had been rumored for weeks, and covered fairly well elsewhere. I was focusing on the Wolves since their interest in Young was the new part. The only reason I really included the picks from the Cavs in the discussion is because I was seeing a bit of confusion on the protection of the picks and what exactly they had available to trade. So I wanted to clarify that.

      Bennett, and the Memphis pick, are two assets that look to factor prominently in the deal, although I do think a Minnesota pick, albeit delayed, is a very attractive piece as well, depending on the protections. I like Dieng quite a bit, but I can’t see Minnesota being all that eager to move him, nor do I necessarily see his fit with Noel and Embiid. Then again, I could see Hinkie acquiring him, giving him major minutes, then flipping him when his value has increased.

      The only thing I really disagree with is Martin’s contract being one of the worst in the league. It’s far worse than anything else the Sixers have been looking to use their cap space to absorb, and should increase the Sixers asking price considerably because of that, but there are far worse contracts than his 3 years, $21m deal. They’re not contracts Hinkie would entertain absorbing, but they’re out there.

      • long_life_full_cream_milk

        True. Josh Smith for one.

        I guess the point is we can expect the Sixers to get a high return if they take on bad money since they haven’t been willing to take on bad money for a medium value asset as of now.

        If Martin is acquired, could The Sixers buy out all three years of Martin’s contract with cap space? Would that forward the cap hit to this year? That would make his contract only slightly worse than Lin’s, though of course you wouldn’t need to make such a decision until after the trade deadline (since the Sixers are likely to have enough cap space to act as a facilitator in a three team deal at least one more time without such a move.)

      • long_life_full_cream_milk

        As for Dieng, I agree too. I wouldn’t move him if I were Minnesota. I just have no clue about what Flip Saunders values. It may come down to if he values Bennett’s potential or Dieng’s current ability more.

        As for Dieng with Noel and Embiid. There’s a lot of reasons why such a pairing makes sense. The first is perhaps that both Noel and Embiid have serious injury history, so having Dieng on the roster allows you to go easy on all three players minutes (without much of a drop off) and provides insurance in case there is major injury during the season or in the playoffs.

        Secondly, as a late first round pick, Dieng is on highly favorable contract, and likely will continue to be so even after he is a restricted free agent, since players who defend and rebound with limited go-to potential on offense are still often undervalued by the league, ie. he’s not the type of player likely to sign a big offer sheet from another team.

        Third, you might give up something on offense, namely the ability to stretch the floor, but you’d likely gain a little of that back with the ability to grab some offensive rebounds, and you would gain a lot defensively with the ability to alter shots at the rim while still finishing possessions with defensive boards.

        Of course, to maximize the value of these line-ups offensively, either Embiid, Noel, Dieng develop a back to the basket game, and the ability to pass successfully out of double teams. (Seeing the team’s work with Noel and Sims, this seems highly likely for Embiid if he stays healthy.). Or these players develop at least a midrange jump shot. Though one big drawback might be that MCW would almost certainly have to shoot from deep to be consistently effective in such line-ups, rather than just mostly eliminate the deep jump shot from his arsenal as he did at the end of the season.

        Still, if Dieng came along with a player like Joe Harris or Dellavadova, it would not only give the Sixers a strong base for the future, but as you point out give the Sixers a lot of flexibility with potential trades in the future

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