Well, looks like this one might be passing us by as well.
The Sixers were reportedly in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwovles to play facilitator in the blockbuster deal between the two teams, in which star forward Kevin Love and top prospect Andrew Wiggins were to swap unis. Esteemed ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst reported the Cavs-Wolves deal as good as done, mentioning the Sixers sending Thaddeus Young to Minny as the deal's likely undercard.
Well, now the deal has been confirmed as agreed-to-in-principle by none other than Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the #1 name in reporting when it comes to such things. Woj has the same principals from the Wolves and Cavs changing hands--Love, Wiggins and former #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett--but not with Bennett going to the Sixers, as previously rumored. In fact, the Sixers are not mentioned in Woj's article at all.
Does this mean that Thad-to-Minny is as good as dead? Not necessarily--the teams could still engage in a separate deal, with Bennett and other spare parts coming to the Sixers. But as Derek Bodner of Liberty Ballers points out, if it's not part of a three-way with Cleveland, there are some roadblocks to such a deal that make it a good deal trickier:
I said it before, but Windhorst's Philly involvement seemed speculative. Still, could be side deal. Philly's value wasn't to help trade...— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) August 7, 2014
With Bennett's salary at $5.5 million, and Thad's at $9.4 million, and Minnesota over the cap, I don't see how that would work financially.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) August 7, 2014
As a non-taxpaying team, Wolves cannot receive more than 150% (+100k) of Bennett's $5.5m salary.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) August 7, 2014
tl;dr: if #sixers aren't a part of Wolves/Cavs trade, as reported by Woj, I don't expect them to get Bennett.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) August 7, 2014
I tend to agree with Derek--if the Sixers' involvement in such talks was real, I think they'd be part of the original Love trade. The Thad-to-Minnesota stuff never 100% made sense to begin with (on Minny's end, anyway), so if it doesn't happen straightaway, and especially if it needs an extra take two months of waiting to make the pieces fit, it seems pretty unlikely.
There's probably a lesson to be learned here, and one we should damn well heed by now: Sam Hinkie doesn't rumor. As we've brought up here on the Level before, in Our Dark Lord's one-plus year of GM service, no deal he's been involved with has been reported on more than an hour in advance of actually going down. Every time the team's been brought up in trade or free agency talks--for Dion Waiters, Omer Asik, Avery Bradley, Jeremy Lin, Anthony Bennett or whoever--it's ended up fizzling out. We don't know what this guy is really up to, and we likely never will.
Of course, that's not gonna stop us from talking about these rumors on the Level--they're fun, and it's not like we have a ton else to chew on with the Sixers at the moment--but temperance will remain of the utmost importance for us as fans. Don't believe the hype, and don't count your trade assets before they're dealt.
(Note: Derek's LB co-writer Jake Fischer reports Philly and Minny are still in Thad talks. I remain skeptical, but it's reason enough to not 100% write this one off, at least.)