Thaddeus Young left the Indiana Pacers and signed with Chicago on a 3 yr 43.7M contract this offseason. However, after having a reduced role to start the season, Young may be on the move at the trade deadline. Here are three possible teams that could make a move for the veteran power forward.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Bulls Trade: Thaddeus Young, Chicago 2020 Second
Trading Davis Bertans has proven to be an enormous mistake for the Spurs. Rudy Gay is well past his prime, and Trey Lyles has been inconsistent all season. For the Spurs, acquiring Thaddeus Young from Chicago would be a nice pickup. He would likely take Lyles’ spot in the starting lineup and help the Spurs on the defensive end. Giving up a rookie first-round pick in Keldon Johnson could prove costly, but if San Antonio is set on making the playoffs, then this is the right move. The Spurs also receive a second-round pick in this deal for giving up Johnson.
The 20-year-old Johnson has been stuck in the G League most of the year despite being the 29th pick in the 2019 draft. He’s played all of seven minutes this season. That being said, he was highly recruited coming out of high school and showed last season at Kentucky the potential of what he could do in the NBA. Otto Porter Jr. has struggled with injuries while Chandler Hutchison hasn’t made much improvement in year two, so Johnson should get more playing time in Chicago.
The Spurs thought they were getting Marcus Morris Sr. to replace Davis Bertans. However, Morris spurned the Spurs’ offer and signed with the Knicks. Carroll was seen as a backup option as San Antonio gave him a 3 yr 20.7M contract. However, he’s completely fallen off the map this season, putting up 2.2 ppg on 31.0% from the field. Replacing him with Young makes the deal more reasonable for the Spurs; Carroll’s contract must be thrown in to make the money aspect of the trade work.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
Bulls Trade: Thaddeus Young, Shaquille Harrison
The Clippers do have a playoff-caliber power forward in Montrezl Harrell. However, Doc Rivers utilizes him off the bench, and the Clippers’ depth at that position has been lackluster. JaMychal Green, Patrick Patterson, and Moe Harkless have all been unreliable when in the starting lineup.
Harkless has been the best of three, especially when starting in place of Kawhi Leonard, but Thaddeus Young will be an upgrade. Green flashed as a shooter earlier in the season but has fallen off since October. After shooting 57.7% from deep that month, he has not shot better than 30.3% from deep since then. While Young isn’t much better as a shooter, the defense and extensive playoff experience he brings makes him a solid option for the Clippers. Acquiring Shaquille Harrison as well will give the Clippers more guard depth and help prevent the Clippers from having two empty roster spots.
As for Chicago, they take a flier on the 13th overall pick from the 2018 NBA draft in Jerome Robinson. Of every lottery pick in the 2018 class, Robinson has shown the least throughout the start of his NBA career. He was drafted to be a catch and shoot guy with defensive upside. However, the Clippers filled that role by trading for Landry Shamet, the 26th pick in that draft. But Robinson’s only 22 years old and could have an upside for the Bulls. Jamychal Green, as stated above, has had his moments, but overall has been inconsistent this season. Rodney McGruder has made little impact for the Clippers, but his 3 yr 15M contract is needed to make the money aspect of this trade work.
1. Miami Heat
Bulls Trade: Thaddeus Young, Cristiano Felicio, Shaquille Harrison
This trade works in a different way for the Heat. Sure, Thaddeus Young is a solid player with playoff experience, but most importantly, it’s a salary dump. Miami’s roster is filled with bad contracts such as James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Goran Dragic, and Dion Waiters. With Bam Adebayo due for an extension this offseason, they will want to cut some money off their payroll for next season.
Getting rid of Johnson, who will make 16M next season, will give Miami flexibility. Miami has been trying to move on from Dion Waiters, who has been suspended three separate times this season. When on the court, Waiters has value, but he hasn’t been able to put it together for a full season without missing time one way or another. Dion Waiters is set to make 12.6M next season, almost equal to Young, who will make 13.5M next season and 14.2M in 2021-22.
Thaddeus Young showed his value with the Pacers last season but has fallen off a bit this year with the Bulls. Coming off the bench has hurt his production, but in Miami, he should start ahead of Meyers Leonard. While Young is a decent shooter, he’s most valuable on the defensive end. He’s been over 1.0 DPBM in each of the last four seasons of his career, while Leonard has never been higher than a 0.5. Having a staunch defender next to Bam Adebayo will make Miami a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end.
Why give up a first?
However, for Chicago to take on two bad contracts in Johnson, and Waiters, they will need Miami to throw in a first-round pick. Given that the Heat are second in the East, their pick will likely be in the 20-30 range. The Bulls are hurt from taking on two bad contracts, but get a future asset in a first-round pick.
Cristiano Felicio is someone I’ve ripped on Twitter. He’s been buried on the Bulls’ depth chart all season, despite being set to make 7.5M next season. While that’s a terrible contract to carry for the Heat, it’s still a cut in their payroll and gives them more flexibility to provide Adebayo with a significant extension. Shaquille Harrison likely won’t play much for the Heat, but his league minimum contract makes the money aspect of the trade work. In total, the Heat cut nearly 5.5M from next year’s salary table.
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