Trade rumors surrounding Thaddeus Young seemed never ending since the 2013 NBA Draft. When 76ers GM Sam Hinkie entered the franchise into a rebuilding phase after the Jrue Holiday trade, it was assumed that all veterans would be moved within the year.
First, it was Jrue Holiday, the young upstart point guard who was thought to be the face of the franchise. Then, at the 2013-14 season trade deadline, veterans Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and LaVoy Allen were shipped away. After just half a season, Thaddeus Young was standing by himself on an island, while everyone surrounding him were new born babies.
Still, the community of Philadelphia never heard a peep from Young about playing through a rebuilding project and suffering loss after loss. Although Young was having his best season, averaging 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds, it was clear to everyone that he had better use on a contending team.
When the 2014 NBA Draft rolled around, it was almost a sure thing that Young had seen his last days in a 76ers uniform. Sam Hinkie was the NBA Draft genius when it came to dealing picks and with Young being the biggest trade chip the 76ers had, most thought Hinkie would push all his chips in.
But again, Thaddeus Young shockingly was still a 76er after the 2014 NBA Draft and it seemed like he would stay in Philadelphia for the 2014-15 season. Even Sam Hinkie thought the same. When Hinkie was asked if Young would be here this season, he replied, “I do.”
So, all was quiet on the trade front for awhile, until LeBron James dropped a nuke on the living world when he announced he would be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though James preached patience for the Cavaliers — a team that had back-to-back No. 1 picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins — it was assumed that the Cavaliers would be contending for a title in 2014.
With Kevin Love wanting out of Minnesota, it seemed as if the stars were beginning to align, literally. The Cavs had a young All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving and the world’s best basketball player in LeBron James, seemingly Cleveland was a few pieces away from being a championship threat. So, the rumors about Kevin Love going to Cleveland began, but with Andrew Wiggins signing his rookie contract, he wasn’t able to be traded until August 23. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports announced on August 7 that the deal was already agreed to in principal.
The 76ers were rumored to be involved, which was no surprise to anyone, and most figured that Young would finally see his seven year tenure in Philadelphia come to a close. The rumor mill was churning again and everyone was curious what the Sixers would receive in return for Thaddeus Young.
It was reported, then taken back, then reported again, that Anthony Bennett would be the piece coming to Philly. Then, a few days before the moratorium period ended for Andrew Wiggins, it was announced that it didn’t seem like Bennett would be coming after all.
August 23 came and Thaddeus Young was finally traded.
The Thaddeus Young era in Philadelphia was over and with Young gone, Arnett Moultrie became the longest tenured 76er on the roster. Even though Young was never a superstar or franchise player in Philadelphia, he was always a fan favorite.
Despite the constant trade rumors, Thaddeus Young never changed. He always brought his lunch pail to work and never left the court without giving 110 percent. It sound cliche, but anyone that has watched Young before will agree. Even in the midst of a 60-plus loss season, the man was still diving on the floor for loose balls in games that didn’t matter.
Even though he was never the face of the franchise, this seven year veteran from Georgia Tech always embodied the Philadelphia persona: working for everything and expecting nothing in return. This city will always remember Thaddeus Young for the hardworking man he was and will continue to be in Minnesota. The city of Philadelphia wishes you best of luck in your future career, Mr. Young.