Thaddeus Young: Not traded, playing tonight, probably alongside Michael Carter-Williams

Thaddeus Young: Not traded, playing tonight, probably alongside Michael Carter-Williams

Rough 48 hours for Thaddeus Young. Well, rough week if you extend to include the Philadelphia 76ers' blowout in Brooklyn, and rough year if you...well, let's not rehash the whole Megillah. But the last few days have likely been especially trying, as Young's name was mentioned repeatedly in trade rumors for disenchanted Rockets center Omer Asik, which (thankfully, in my opinion) ended up getting shelved.

However, Thad is probably much less relieved than I about the trade being a bust. Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers had the exclusive report that Young had, some weeks ago, officially filed for a trade request with Sixers brass, unhappy with the increasingly downward direction of the team. (Thad has since denied the reports, which he'd probably have no choice but to do whether or not they were true.) With Asik temporarily off the market, the chances of Young being moved before the new year seem slim, meaning he'll likely ring in 2014 as an increasingly bummed 76er.

We can debate the morality of Thad's alleged request when and if the reports are confirmed to be true, but in the meantime, we have to still play an unthinkable 56 (!!) more basketball games this season, and let's hope that Thad isn't so sick of Philly that he starts asking out of games--like, say Omer Asik did earlier season. I'm not too worried--Thaddeus has never been less than professional in his seven-plus years in Philly--but avoiding any true ugliness would be nice.

Speaking of avoiding ugliness--the Sixers might be able to make inroads towards doing just that tonight against Brooklyn (in the second half of their home-and-home), as Michael Carter-Williams is (as of writing, anyway) expected to make his return from injury after seven games on the shelf. (Uncoincidentally, the Sixers lost all seven games without their starrish rookie.)

Will MCW's comeback be enough to reverse the team's losing ways? Is that even something we want, now that the Ballers are actually making legitimate strides towards getting the league's worst-overall record? Will Joe Johnson go for ten three-pointers again, or only eight this time? All questions worth watching to get answers to, unless you actually have, y'know, something to do tonight.

7:00 tip from the WFC. We see you, Reggie Evans.

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."