Basketball / Sports

Thaddeus Young trade to Timberwolves finalized

Sam Hinkie's dramatic overhaul of the Sixers' roster moved forward Saturday as the oft-discussed trade of Thaddeus Young was finalized.

As reported and confirmed Friday, the Sixers sent their longest-tenured player to the Minnesota Timberwolves for two players on expiring contracts and a first-round draft pick next season.

"Thank you Sixers & Philly fans for 7 wonderful years. My family & I will always hold you close to our hearts," Young wrote on Twitter. "Minnesota ... I'm ready to work and bring my hardworking attitude Philly gave to me."

Young, the Sixers' first-round pick in 2007, was coming off his best season. He set career highs in points, steals, assists and 3-pointers made last season.

The immediate on-court return is modest. The Sixers received guard Alexey Shved and forward Luke Mbah a Moute, who both averaged about four points per game for the Timberwolves last season. Neither is signed beyond this season.

Mbah a Moute's contributions are likely to go beyond his play. The 27-year-old has been a mentor to Sixers center Joel Embiid. They were both born in Yaounde, Cameroon, and Embiid was discovered at one of Mbah a Moute's camps.

Since Hinkie took over as general manager in 2013, the Sixers have put an emphasis on stockpiling draft picks and future assets. The strategy has changed the face of their team.

Michael Carter-Williams is the only starter from last season's opener. Arnett Moultrie, drafted in 2012, is now the Sixers' longest-tenured player.

Young no longer fit in the Sixers' plans to rebuild around youth, but he fills a frontcourt need for the Timberwolves, who traded forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers to land Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, the last two No. 1 overall picks.

Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said his organization has long been in talks with the Sixers about the veteran player. He felt they needed Young, whom he called a "borderline all-star statistically," in order to complete the Love trade.

"More than anything else, he is a super character individual," Saunders said. "He will add as much to our locker room with his presence, his leadership, as he will his athleticism."

The draft pick added by the Sixers originally belonged to Miami. It is protected between picks 1 and 10 for the next two seasons.

The Sixers have six picks in the 2015 draft, including two in the first round.

(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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