Even before the Philadelphia 76ers started dropping his name in trade talks, forward Thaddeus Young already had his mind set on leaving the City of Brotherly Love.
Young, a career 76er since they drafted him 12th overall in the 2007 draft, actually requested a trade several weeks before Philadelphia reportedly used his name in talks regarding Houston center Omer Asik, according to Liberty Ballers. The report also quoted an unnamed source that stated Young’s intentions to play for a contender.
"Thad is ready to leave Philly," the source said. "He isn't with the whole tanking thing."
Despite starting the year on a highly unexpected tear, including a season premiere victory over defending champion Miami, Philadelphia’s young core has fallen back to last in the Atlantic Division and are back on track to the draft lottery next summer.
They were one of several teams rumored to be tanking for position to select freshman and top prospects Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle.
Houston has been dangling Asik since the summer, after the Turkish big man requested a trade when Dwight Howard moved into his territory down low. A move to Boston was seen as nearly wrapped up earlier this week, but reports have suggested a deal is off for the foreseeable future.
The five-year $43 million extension Young signed back in 2011 has two years remaining after this season, totaling $19.3 million, but the 25-year-old also holds an early-termination option for the final year.
With career averages of 13.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, Young could be a more solid running mate for Howard, stalking outside the paint for jumpers rather than clogging the middle like Asik.
Another player that’s been tied to rumors for much of his career, but with no reported end in sight, is Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng.
The Sudanese-born star has officially been taken off the block, according to ESPN Chicago. The team has spiraled down the East since losing Derrick Rose once again to a knee injury, and it was believed Chicago would sell of Deng in exchange for assets to be used for a quick rebuild.
Deng is scheduled to hit free agency next summer, so the idea was to either sign him to an extension or ship him out for something than receive nothing in return.
However, the Bulls apparently believe they can re-sign him, though Deng could demand a maximum contract that ties up the salary cap for several seasons. Chicago already has the fourth highest payroll in the NBA at over $80 million, and a maximum deal for Deng would keep them in the same high range.
In addition to Rose, Chicago has been plagued by the injury bug, even Deng, who is reportedly sidelined for the next week due to a sore Achilles tendon. Meanwhile, center Joakhim Noah has battled knee and groin injuries, and guard Jimmy Butler hurt his ankle earlier this week.