Thaddeus Young Interview: On His Future in Philly, Potential Lockout, Allen Iverson, and Twitter

Thaddeus Young Interview: On His Future in Philly, Potential Lockout, Allen Iverson, and Twitter

Thaddeus Young emerged as one of the key players in the Sixers playoff run this season. The serious Sixth Man of the Year candidate is holding Thaddeus Young 21 Hoops, a basketball camp for kids, next week in King of Prussia and chatted with us this afternoon about his future, the potential NBA lockout, Coach Collins, Allen Iverson, and which of his teammates is best/worst on Twitter.

Enrico: So yesterday was your birthday, did you do anything exciting to celebrate?

Thad Young: No. I didn't do anything exciting. Just lived my birthday as any other day. Being the middle of the week, you can't really do too much anyway.

Enrico: The Sixers recently tendered you a qualifying offer which allows them to match any offers you receive from other teams. What would be your ideal situation for you going forward?

Thad: Just looking for something long term, try to keep building on the team chemistry. I definitely don't want to have to sign a qualifying offer to play for one year. I want to be with Philadelphia. I want to be here long term. That's the team I've been with, that's the team I was drafted by. I'm like brothers with those guys now. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff and the front office. It's been an ideal situation. I love being there.

Enrico: How worried are you about potentially being a free agent during this mess with the CBA and a possible lockout? How is it changing the way you're approaching the off-season?

Thad: I'm definitely going to approach the offseason by doing the same thing I've always been doing. The only thing I'm probably not doing is playing five-on-five. Other than that I'm still working out, still shooting, still trying to stay in conditioning shape.

Enrico: Does the NFL lockout situation worry you about what's next with the NBA?

Thad: You definitely have to be conscious of it and be worried about it. This is 400+ guys livelihood. This is how we eat and stuff like that. At the end of the day, if you save well, you'll be fine. It's still something we love to do. We don't want to have a long summer and not play basketball for a whole year. We'd rather go out there and play the game we love so much.

Enrico: It seems like Coach Collins really took a shine to you as the season went on. What do you think made his relationship with the team's core guys such a positive one, and do you think he'll be able to maintain those bonds for the next season and beyond?

Thad: Yes, definitely. Coach Collins is a guy that's going to stay on you and coach you really hard-nosed. He wants the best out of each and every one of his players, it's just a matter if you can see that or not. Some guys had a hard time seeing it initially, but once he did form that relationship, the guys who bought into it really succeeded and played well. For instance, Jodie Meeks and Jrue Holiday, those guys really took off this season and had two great seasons.

Enrico: During your exit interview at the end of the season, which parts of your game did Doug Collins say he most wanted you to work on?

Thad: Pretty much developing that mid-range jumper like [Elton] has. They know I can do just about anything, and they want me to develop that mid-range jumper to where it's consistent, so that I knock down every wide open shot. Since I can't play five-on-five, that's pretty much all I've been doing is shooting jump shots.

Enrico: Are you comfortable in your role as a first-guy-off-the-bench scorer? You excelled in the role last year, but moving forward, are you hoping to play somewhere where you'll have the chance to be a starter again?

Thad: It's all about what the team needs. The team needed me to come off the bench so I had to buy into the role. It was hard at first to buy into it because I felt like I should have been starting, but at the end of the day we won games. When the game plan was fulfilled, with me being the sixth man, we had a successful season. It's whatever the team wants. If they want me to continue to be the sixth man or start at the three or the four, it doesn't matter.

Enrico: Were you rooting against the Heat in the finals? Did you talk to any of the other guys about it?

Thad: I wasn't really rooting against them, no. That was just an amazing series, maybe one of the best ever. The Heat hung tough though.

Random Stuff:

Enrico: Do you think Allen Iverson has anything left to offer the NBA? What was he like as a teammate when you played with him during his second stint with the Sixers?

Thad: It was pretty cool being Allen's teammate. When he came to the team, he had people waiting for him outside of the hotel and stuff like that. We had a chance to see what it was like when Aaron McKie and that first set of guys played with him. He was like a rock star with that team. I think he still has something left in the tank. He's a great guy. I actually sat next to him in the locker room at the practice facility. He would call me "Young Punk" and stuff like that. He's funny, I like him as a person. And he definitely wasn't the same guy people may have told you about. He's actually really humble. He brought a great and positive attitude to the locker room.

Enrico: Toughest player you've ever guarded?

Thad: Dwyane Wade is definitely the toughest to guard. He's got that crazy first move that's just so quick.

Enrico: Including your coaches (Collins, Snyder, McKie) who is the best shooter during practices at PCOM?

Thad: Aaron McKie or Coach Curry. [Curry] doesn't shoot the three, but he has that nice mid-range game. Aaron McKie has the three pointer and the mid-range game.

Enrico: Favorite things to do in Philly? Restaurants? Hidden gems?

Thad: I like to probably go to Del Frisco's Steak House, that's about it. I like to do regular stuff. I do like to go to the movies though. I like to see all the new movies that come out.

Enrico: Which of your teammates are the best/worst at Twitter?

Thad: Lou Will is definitely the best. Marreese Speights is definitely the worst. I can't even understand what he's saying half the time.

Enrico: Can you ask Lou Williams to unblock me on Twitter? What's up with that?

Thad: [laughs] He does love to block anybody that says anything negative about him. I can ask for you though.

*

Finally, tell us a little bit about your basketball camp. (Details: June 27-July 1, Competitive Edge Sports, 320 South Henderson Road, King of Prussia, PA  19046)

It should be a lot of fun. It's for kids from 7-17 years old. They can register at http://www.thadyoung.com . We really focus on all aspects of the game, from improving shooting and dribbling to defense, rebounding, an
d post moves. It should be a real fun environment and a chance to interact with the local kids.

MLB Notes: Rangers' Rougned Odor's suspension reduced to 7 games

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MLB Notes: Rangers' Rougned Odor's suspension reduced to 7 games

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor started serving his suspension Friday for punching Toronto's Jose Bautista after the penalty was reduced from eight to seven games.

Odor was out of the lineup for the series opener against Pittsburgh. He will be eligible to return June 4 when Texas is home against Seattle.

Bautista was suspended one game, and he was serving that Friday, when the penalty was upheld a day after his appeal was heard.

The Rangers promoted former top prospect Jurickson Profar from Triple-A Round Rock, and he was in the lineup against the Pirates as the leadoff hitter playing second base. Odor had been leading off.

Odor's penalty was cut by Major League Baseball special assistant John McHale Jr. The appeal over Odor's role in a May 15 brawl between the Rangers and Blue Jays was heard Tuesday. The league disciplined 14 players and staff over the melee in Arlington (see full story).

Red Sox: Struggling RHP Clay Buchholz to bullpen
TORONTO -- Struggling Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is being moved to the bullpen and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will take Buchholz's spot in the rotation, starting Tuesday at Baltimore.

Buchholz is 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA in 10 starts and has allowed five earned runs or more six times. He gave up season-highs of six runs and three home runs in Thursday's 8-2 loss to Colorado.

Rodriguez (right knee) is on the 15-day DL has not pitched for the Red Sox this season. He's 0-3 with a 3.54 ERA in five rehab starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He went 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA as a rookie in 2015.

Buchholz has made two career relief appearances, one in his rookie season in 2007 and another in 2008.

Manager John Farrell said Buchholz will make multi-inning appearances in order to remain stretched out and could return to the rotation later in the season.

NBA Playoffs: Cavs blow out Raptors for second straight Finals appearance

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NBA Playoffs: Cavs blow out Raptors for second straight Finals appearance

BOX SCORE

TORONTO -- LeBron James scored 33 points, Kevin Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to their second straight NBA Finals by beating the Toronto Raptors 113-87 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night.

It's the third finals appearance in team history for the Cavaliers. Cleveland lost to Golden State in six games last year and got swept by San Antonio in 2007.

For James, it's his sixth straight trip to the finals, including four with Miami. He broke the 30-point barrier for the first time this postseason and finished with 11 rebounds and six assists.

"We needed LeBron to set the tone for us early and I thought he did that," coach Tyronn Lue said.

James will be the eighth player in NBA history to appear in six consecutive finals and the first who didn't play for the Boston Celtics.

"He's just a great player," Lue said. "He's a proven winner. He's always won over the course of his career. To go to six straight finals is unbelievable."

James got there by taking down a Toronto team that set a franchise record with 56 wins and reached the conference finals for the first time in 21 seasons.

After a second-quarter dunk, James shared some verbal barbs with rapper Drake, the Raptors' global ambassador and the man who popularized the nickname `6ix' for Toronto.

Kyrie Irving had 30 points and J.R. Smith added 15 for the Cavaliers, who will face the winner of the Golden State-Oklahoma City series on Thursday.

Cleveland would open at home against the Thunder but would be on the road against the 73-win Warriors, who trail 3-2 against Oklahoma City heading into Saturday's Game 6.

The Cavs will be seeking to end Cleveland's 52-year championship drought, the longest by any city with at least three professional teams. No Cleveland team has won it all since the Browns blanked Baltimore 27-0 to win the NFL championship in 1964.

"This city has been craving a championship," Lue said. "We have the right team and we have the right talent."

Kyle Lowry scored 35 points and DeMar DeRozan had 20 as the deepest playoff run in Raptors team history ended, much to the disappointment of a sellout crowd of 20,605 dressed in red and white T-shirts that formed a maple leaf pattern on either side of the court. Fans stood and cheered "Let's go, Raptors! Let's go, Raptors!" throughout most of the final three minutes.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said reaching the conference finals was "a tremendous learning experience" for his young team, one that's "a step ahead" in its process of becoming a championship contender.

"We're learning," Casey said. "We're not where (the Cavaliers) are right now. We're going to be."

A dejected Lowry said it was hard to see the positive side of Toronto's best season ever.

"Of course you're going to look back at some point but right now I'm disappointed," he said. "Simple as that, I'm disappointed."

Toronto prolonged the series with back-to-back home wins in Games 3 and 4 but never mounted much of a challenge to the conference champions in Game 6, falling behind by 21 in the third quarter.

The Cavaliers came in 0-4 at Air Canada Centre counting the regular season and playoffs, but looked much more like the team that handed the Raptors a trio of lopsided losses in Cleveland this series.

The Raptors trailed 88-78 on a jumper by DeRozan with 10:23 remaining but James scored six points in a 14-3 run that gave the Cavs a 102-81 lead with about 6 minutes left.

James scored 14 in the first and five of Cleveland's nine field goals were from long range as the Cavaliers led 31-25 after one.

After video review, the officials waved off a basket by Biyombo with 3:18 left in the period and gave him a flagrant foul for knocking down Love.

Tempers flared again early in the second when Richard Jefferson reacted angrily to catching an elbow from Jonas Valanciunas as the two battled for a rebound. Patrick Patterson came over and shoved Jefferson out of the way. Both Patterson and Jefferson were given technical fouls.

Cleveland made five more 3-pointers in the second and outscored Toronto 9-3 over the final 71 seconds to lead 55-41 at halftime. The Cavaliers made 10 of 15 3-point attempts in the first half, while Toronto was 2 of 12.

The Cavs led 78-57 after a 3 by Love at 3:53 of the third but Lowry scored 15 points as Toronto closed the quarter with a 17-8 run, cutting it to 86-74.

Tip-ins
Cavaliers: Shot 17 for 31 from 3-point range. ... Outscored Toronto 17-5 in fast break points.

Raptors: Finished their playoff run by playing every other day from April 29 onward, a 15-game run that started with Game 6 of the first round against Indiana.

NFL Notes: Jets' offer to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick stands at 3 years

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NFL Notes: Jets' offer to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick stands at 3 years

NEW YORK -- A person familiar with the negotiations says the New York Jets made a three-year offer to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in March that includes $12 million guaranteed in the first year.

That offer has remained on the table for Fitzpatrick, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side is commenting publicly on the negotiations.

The New York Post first reported the terms of the offer Friday.

Fitzpatrick and the Jets have been locked in a contract stalemate. The 33-year-old quarterback is a free agent and coming off a season in which he threw a Jets-record 31 touchdown passes and led New York within a victory of the playoffs.

Both the Jets and Fitzpatrick have said they would like a reunion, but have unable to agree on a deal.

Bears: First-round pick Leonard Floyd agrees to deal
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears and first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd have agreed to a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year.

The Bears drafted the outside linebacker from Georgia with the ninth pick after trading up two spots in a deal with Tampa Bay. Chicago hopes he will add some athleticism to a team trying to build on a 6-10 season. The 6-foot-6, 244-pound Floyd led the Bulldogs in sacks for the third straight year with 4 , and tied for the team lead with 10 1/2 tackles for loss last season.

With the announcement Friday, the Bears have agreed to contracts with eight of their nine picks. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard, a third-rounder, is the exception.

NFL: Navy's Reynolds, Carter can defer military service
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Keenan Reynolds will get his chance to play in the NFL this season.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Friday that the record-setting Navy quarterback Reynolds and fullback Chris Swain can defer their military service to play in the NFL.

Carter made the announcement during his graduation speech to the academy in Annapolis. As students cheered the news about their graduating classmates, Carter said: "Go get 'em."

Reynolds was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens. He is the NCAA's career leader in touchdowns with 88. He had 31 touchdown passes while leading Navy's triple-option offense. The Ravens plan to use him as a running back, receiver and kick returner.

Swain has signed with the San Diego Chargers (see full story).

Redskins: Activists criticize poll on team name
WASHINGTON -- Native American leaders and activists have criticized a recent US national poll that found nine of 10 Native Americans aren't offended by the Washington Redskins' name.

On a conference call held Friday by the National Congress of American Indians and "Change the Mascot" campaign, panelists voiced opposition to a Washington Post poll that surveyed 504 Native Americans, 90 percent of whom said the name doesn't bother them.

James Fenelon, a California State San Bernardino sociology professor, called the poll "immoral," adding it was not representative of Native American communities. Amanda Blackhorse, lead plaintiff in the trademark case against the Redskins, said the "misguided" poll will not affect attempts to change the name.

National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata said: "This issue is not about polling. This issue is about human rights."

D.C. council member David Grosso said he hadn't been swayed and that the government would not support the team moving back into the District unless the name was changed.

The team currently plays its home games in Maryland, with its headquarters and training facility in Virginia.