Jan 6, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21) is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Rumors: Thaddeus Young As Kevin Love's Replacement?

Thaddeus Young is no Kevin Love, but with the three-time All-Star of the Minnesota Timberwolves likely on his way out via a trade, the Wolves are reportedly considering Young as Love’s replacement.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Minnesota views Young as a substitute for Love should the Timberwolves complete a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls or Golden State Warriors. The Wolves could either pursue a separate deal for Young or they could try and include the Philadelphia 76ers in a three-team deal revolving around Love.

Young has two years and $19.3 million left on his contract and in a depressing season with the Sixers last year, averaged a career high 17.9 points to go with 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He also shot 45.4 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three-point range.

There is no real substitute for Love, but Young would be a step in the right direction, especially if the Wolves were able to nab Andrew Wiggins as part of a deal with the Cavs. Head coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has little interest in a full-scale rebuilding process, so adding a talented veteran like Young, who is probably very ready to get out of Philly, certainly makes sense.

As you can see, however, Young is inferior to Love in almost every major statistical category:

Rk Player Season Age G MP FG% 3P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
1 Kevin Love 2013-14 25 77 36.3 .457 .376 .821 12.5 4.4 0.8 0.5 26.1
2 Thaddeus Young 2013-14 25 79 34.4 .454 .308 .712 6.0 2.3 2.1 0.5 17.9
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/28/2014.

Advanced statistics aren’t much kinder. Although Love has a reputation of being a poor defender, Young’s defensive rating of 108 points per 100 possessions last season was worse than Love’s 104 (though we can’t go solely off that statistic since the Sixers were historically atrocious on both ends of the floor). Young would be a very good addition for the Wolves, but no one should be under the impression he’d do anything but soften the blow of losing one of the NBA’s top 10 players.

Unless the Timberwolves are able to work out a separate deal with the Sixers, news on this front might stay quiet for awhile. The Cavaliers can’t legally trade Andrew Wiggins until Aug. 23 since they signed him to a four-year deal and Cleveland’s biggest competition, Chicago, also just signed rookies Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott and would have to wait until Aug. 18 to move them. After signing a rookie deal, that player cannot be traded for 30 days.

For Philly, this decision really depends on what they’d be getting in return. Young is quite possibly the Sixers’ best player, but given general manager Sam Hinkie’s love for draft picks and his 35-year rebuilding plan, there’s a chance Philadelphia chooses to be historically bad again this season and ships Young away.

Tags: Kevin Love Kevin Love Trades Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Nba Rumors Philadelphia 76ers Thaddeus Young

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