We should put Thaddeus Young's name in trade rumors more often

We should put Thaddeus Young's name in trade rumors more often

You never know how players are going to react to trade rumors. Sometimes the ego-bruising involved in being mentioned in them at all takes a while to recover from, as might the disappointment of such a deal ultimately not coming to fruition. The latter seemed it could have been a particular worry for our fed-up power forward Thaddeus Young, who reportedly asked for a trade several weeks ago, and was included in talks of an Omer Asik deal with Houston that never materialized before the Rockets' self-imposed Dec. 19th deadline came and went.

All credit to Thad, though, since rather thank going in the tank post-Asik deadline, the no-deal appears to have had the exact opposite effect on him. In the four games since Dec. 19th, Thaddeus Young has simply been one of the best frontcourt players in basketball, with numbers that are almost beyond belief: 27.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, and all on 55% shooting and 65% from three. The numbers of his last four performances--in which the Sixers went 2-2, by the way--have raised his season averages to about his career norms, nullifying the uncharacteristically slow start he was off to this season.

The most staggering part, of course, is the three-point shooting. Thad has never shot over 35% for a season, and has generally been seen as a subpar outside shooter for his career, but he's been so friggin' hot these last four games that he actually hit ten three-pointers in a row at one point. Ten in a row! That's two more total than he made the last three seasons combined! In a season of super-unlikely happenings...well, it still might not crack top five for this dumbstriking Sixers team, but it's probably top ten at least.

Perhaps just as incredible for Thaddeus, though, were the back-to-back 30-point, ten-rebound games in road losses to the Bucks and Suns. Not only were they the very first two 30-point, ten-rebound games of Thad's six-plus-season NBA career, but they mark the first time that a Sixer has had back-to-back 30-point/ten-board games since Charles Barkley back in 1992, and only the second time that any player has had two such consecutive games this NBA season. (Though remarkably, both Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant have done it in the handful of days since--good players.)

It would appear that rather than sulk his way through what might be his final days as a 76er, Thaddeus Young has instead decided to force the Sixers' hand by raising his trade value to unforeseen heights with his super-awesome play of late. Don't think I can be a stretch four? Fine, Thad says, HERE'S TEN GODDAMN THREE-POINTERS IN A ROW I'M EVEN BANKING 'EM IN I CAN'T EVEN MISS WHEN I WANT TO. Production slipping a bit? Fine, Thad says, HERE'S ALL OF THE POINTS AND REBOUNDS TAKE 'EM I DON'T EVEN WANT 'EM ANYMORE. If he really wants to be traded, this is just about the constructive way Thaddeus could hit us over the head with that point.

So, who wants to leak the reports that Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes have demanded to be packaged together in a trade? We could use some ET hot shooting streaks and weird big-man triple-doubles.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.