Young enduring trade rumors amid tough season

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Young enduring trade rumors amid tough season

Thaddeus Young, who has been the subject of trade speculation this season, reportedly wants out of Philadelphia.

According to a report Thursday from Jake Fischer of LibertyBallers.com, Young submitted a formal trade request to the Sixers weeks before his name turned up in a potential deal involving disgruntled Houston Rockets big man Omer Asik.

"Thad is ready to leave Philly," a source close to Young said, according to the report. "He isn't with the whole tanking thing.

"Thad is kind of anxious. He just wants them to do the trade if they are. He hates waiting. [Playing for a contender] would be great because the Sixers definitely aren't making the playoffs this year."

Missing out on the playoffs certainly appears to be the route the Sixers are headed this season. They are currently on a season-high seven-game losing skid and are last in the Atlantic Division with a 7-19 record.

Young, 25, is the longest tenured Sixer in his seventh season. He has experienced his share of winning and losing throughout his career, but the way the Sixers have suffered one defeat after another this season has already begun started to wear thin.

“We are going out there and the first half is always great, but that third quarter always takes its toll,” Young said Wednesday. “We get down like 15 points and it is hard to come back from those types of deficits. I think that is the most frustrating thing. We need better outputs in the third quarter.”

Monday’s third quarter is probably stuck in Young’s craw. The Nets outscored the Sixers 42-25 -- another example of how bad their defense has been of late.

“We have to do what we are doing better,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “We don’t do what we do well. Really, a lot that has happened is that we don’t get back in transition defense or we have an inability to contain our own man. That gets us into a penetrate-and-pitch game.

“Our rules are the Spurs’ rules. There is nothing funky going on here. It is nothing that great. It is just doing what we do and doing it better.”

The Sixers make some mistakes that you just can’t believe could happen at the pro level. That's with Brown sticking to relatively vanilla schemes on both ends of the floor.

Young has witnessed opponents use that to their advantage against the Sixers.

“Coach [Maurice] Cheeks used to always say when I first came into the league they just don’t know, and now I really know what that means," Young said. "It’s just a lot of things that go on in a game, especially an NBA game, with a lot of young guys playing against 10-year vets like Paul Pierce and KG (Kevin Garnett). You just don’t know. They have ways that they pick you apart, ways they know but you don’t know.”

Individually, things are going well for Young. He is averaging a career-high 15.8 points and shooting a personal-best 34.9 percent from three-point range.

However, individual numbers without that winning feeling don’t sit well with Young.

“Just play and stay focused,” Young said of trying to stay positive. “I remind myself that I have to be a leader to my teammates and one of the key guys on my team. I just go out and play. I can’t let too much bother me. I have to focus in. You might get frustrated at times but, hey, that’s part of the game. That’s part of life.”

Young has always kept his emotions in check, played hard and did whatever was in the best interest of his team. He still does all that, but his frustrations have become visible at times this season.

Brown understands the irritation but wants to channel those emotions into teaching moments.

“We back up opinion with footage and stats, and we help them get better,” Brown explained. “It’s not meant to be embarrassing to anybody. It’s not meant to be scolding unless it’s just gross effort. When effort isn’t there we have problems, and when it’s execution I need to teach and coach and build something.

“I hope it’s an authentic real environment and they understand we’re here to help them. I’m with them and I’m not going anywhere."

Brown is sticking around. We'll find out if the same can be said for Young.

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.

"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley. 

Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.

"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. 

"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.

To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above. 

 

 

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

LAS VEGAS -- New team. Same old result.

Full of new star power -- and dominant on the inside -- the U.S. men's basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina.

A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shooting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players that seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

"There's a willingness from these guys to work on anything we need and to work hard," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "These are very good guys."

A U.S. team that hasn't lost a game in 10 years had little trouble with Argentina, which some consider a medal contender in Rio. Paul George scored 14 first-half points, Kevin Durant added 12, and the U.S. blew open the game early before an appreciative crowd on the Las Vegas Strip.

Even with Bryant retired and James taking this Olympics off, there was no real talent drop off on a team heavily favored to win gold once again. The depth of the U.S. showed as coach Mike Krzyzewski rotated players in and out, searching for the right combinations on a team with 10 new players from 2012.

"Nothing is for sure," Durant said. "We want to get this gold and right now we have a job to do. We have to prepare the right way."

Count the Argentines among those who were impressed at the first real game for the Olympic team.

"Obviously, they have the best talent and the best size in the world," Argentina's Luis Scola said. "That's a big difference in their favor."

The game was the first of five exhibitions the U.S. will play before traveling to Rio to defend the gold medal. The U.S. team has spent the last week practicing in Las Vegas in preparation for the tour and the games.

There weren't any opening night jitters, though the U.S. shot only 45 percent and missed all but 14 of 41 3-pointers. With DeMarcus Cousins pulling down 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes, the U.S. dominated inside, outrebounding Argentina 53-30.

"The big thing is getting in shape and they are not there where they will be," Krzyzewski said. "But we really have an inside presence on the boards."

For Durant the game was a chance to play with a pair of his new Golden State teammates, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. It was also a chance for Durant and Carmelo Anthony -- the only two players from the 2012 team -- to demonstrate that this will be their team in Rio.

Both players cheered from the bench as the minutes were spread around, jumping up to clap for teammates. Every U.S. player got quality time, with Green's 12 minutes the least played by any American.

"We're going to have fun and we're going to enjoy ourselves," Anthony said. "If it's not fun it's not worth it. We're going to enjoy ourselves but at the same time we're going to be focused in trying to get that gold medal."

Durant finished as the game's high scorer with 23 points, while George had 18 and Carmelo Anthony 17. Andres Nocioni had 15 for Argentina, while Manu Ginobili added 11 for Argentina, which lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics.

Though at times little defense was played, there was plenty of offense to keep the crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena happy. The teams combined to put up 70 3-point attempts, 41 of them from the U.S.

Oddsmakers had made the U.S. a prohibitive 29.5-point favorite in what at times looked a lot like an NBA All-Star game. But while the U.S. team is loaded with 12 NBA players, the Argentines had only three on their roster and the talent difference showed.

While the team is full of new players, the gold medal run will be the last for Krzyzewski, the national coach for the last decade. His teams have lost only one game during his reign, which will end after the Olympics with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich taking over.

Manu Ginobili intrigued by coach Brett Brown, Sixers before re-signing with Spurs

Manu Ginobili intrigued by coach Brett Brown, Sixers before re-signing with Spurs

The Spurs have been one of the most consistent NBA teams for nearly 20 years. They have made 19 consecutive postseason trips and won five championships during that span. 

The Sixers, on the other hand, are entering a phase of building a new foundation with a group of young players. They are working to improve upon a 10-win season, let alone making the playoffs.

Yet four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili saw more than records when weighing his options in free agency. The veteran point guard looked to the Sixers sidelines and was intrigued.

Head coach Brett Brown previously worked in the Spurs basketball operations department and on the coaching staff under Gregg Popovich. He was part of four championship teams in San Antonio. When the Sixers approached Ginobili this offseason, he gave them consideration before returning to the Spurs, where he has spent his entire 14-year career.

“The fact that Philadelphia had a great coach and a person I appreciate so much as Brett Brown, made it more appealing in the case the Spurs didn’t happen,” Ginobili told The Vertical on Thursday. “But the Spurs happened and they always had the priority.”

The Sixers reportedly offered Ginobili, 38, a two-year, partially-guaranteed deal worth around $30 million. The Spurs first offered him a one-year, $3 million contract. Ginobili ended up re-signing with the Spurs for one-year, $14 million. 

“It was not my main option. I never wanted to leave San Antonio,” Ginobili said. “But I had to listen to all the options that are there.”

Ginobili averaged 9.6 points, 3.1 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 19.6 minutes coming off the bench last season. The Sixers are adding veteran leadership, and Ginobili is one of the most experienced in the game. In addition to his reliability at the position, he could have been a mentor to the entire team and worked with Ben Simmons to help hone his point guard skills as the rookie big man plays point-forward. His years of international competition would have gelled with incoming players such as Dario Saric, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Sergio Rodriguez. 

The Sixers signed point guards Jerryd Bayless (three years, $27 million) and Rodriguez (one year, $8 million) this summer. T.J. McConnell and Kendall Marshall still are under contract. Last season's starting point guard Ish Smith signed with the Pistons at the start of free agency.