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.

NBA Notes: Cavs staying humble with chance to close out Celtics

NBA Notes: Cavs staying humble with chance to close out Celtics

BOSTON -- It took 10 games and halfway through the third round of the NBA playoffs before the Cleveland Cavaliers finally encountered their first true dose of resistance this postseason.

After cruising to a 2-0 Eastern Conference finals lead over Boston, the Cavs were humbled at home in a Game 3 loss, and needed a 42-point night from Kyrie Irving to battle back from a 16-point hole and win Game 4.

The chatter about an NBA Finals' matchup of two teams with unblemished playoff records is gone, but the challenge from the Celtics has sharpened the focus of the defending champs. Cleveland is expecting another unflinching effort in Game 5 from a Celtics team that isn't backing down despite facing a 3-1 deficit in the series.

"The closeout game is always the hardest.and Boston is going to make it even harder," said LeBron James, who rebounded from a playoff-low 11 points in Game 3 to score 34 in Game 4.

James had been saying that he felt like the Cavs needed to go through some adversity after a blistering 10-0 start to the postseason.

The way they responded Tuesday night -- particularly on the defensive end -- is a good sign for their prospects of wrapping up their third straight Eastern Conference crown on Thursday (see full story).

NBA: Charlotte awarded 2019 All-Star Game
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NBA All-Star game will be coming to Charlotte in 2019, two years after the city was to host the event.

The NBA announced Wednesday the game will be played at Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.

The All-Star game had been set for Charlotte last February, but the NBA moved the game to New Orleans because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a release that while he understands the concerns of those who say the repeal of the HB2 law didn't go far enough, "the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law."

The All-Star weekend festivities in Charlotte are set for Feb. 15-17, 2019.

Bucks: GM search opening up after Hammond exit
Boasting a budding star and an impressive roster of young talent, the Milwaukee Bucks are opening up their search for a new general manager to lead them into contention in the Eastern Conference.

After longtime GM John Hammond left to join friend Jeff Weltman in the Orlando Magic front office, the Bucks are bringing in respected league executive Rod Thorn to help with the search for a replacement, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bucks were not publicly discussing their search.

Assistant GM Justin Zanik was believed to be the heir apparent to Hammond when he left the Utah Jazz to join the Bucks. Zanik, a promising young executive who was an agent before spending three years under Dennis Lindsey in Utah, will get the opportunity to interview for the position, but outside candidates will also be considered. ESPN first reported the details of Milwaukee's search.

The job figures to be an attractive one for prospective executives. Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoyed a breakout season this year, earning a starting spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team and cementing himself as a franchise player.

Milwaukee also has Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker to go with Jabari Parker, a former No. 2 overall pick who is recovering from his second torn ACL.

The Bucks are building a new arena and have enjoyed a revival in the city under new owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens and coach Jason Kidd.

Whether it is Zanik or someone else, it will be a critical hire to help the Bucks move from a team that lost in six games to the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs to one that is ready to challenge the Cavaliers and Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference (see full story).

Lakers: Celebrity trainer Peterson hired
LOS ANGELES -- A celebrity trainer known for getting the Kardashian clan into shape is going to work for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Gunnar Peterson is the Lakers' new director of strength and endurance training, the team announced Wednesday.

Peterson has been a favorite trainer among entertainers and athletes for many years while running a well-regarded private gym in Beverly Hills. His client list has included Sylvester Stallone, Halle Berry, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Pete Sampras, along with most of the Kardashian family.

Peterson will develop a strength and conditioning program for the Lakers, general manager Rob Pelinka says.

The 16-time NBA champion franchise has replaced several key members of its internal staff since Magic Johnson and Pelinka assumed control of basketball operations earlier this year.

NBA draft prospect Josh Jackson pleads guilty to misdemeanor for hitting car

NBA draft prospect Josh Jackson pleads guilty to misdemeanor for hitting car

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Former University of Kansas basketball player Josh Jackson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor traffic violation for backing into a car and driving away.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Jackson entered his plea Tuesday in Lawrence Municipal Court to striking an unattended vehicle. Two other charges, inattentive driving and improper backing, were dismissed.

Jackson, who is expected to be a top draft pick in next month's NBA draft, will be on probation for six months and must pay a $250 fine. If he violates his probation, Jackson would have to serve 30 days in jail.

Coach Bill Self suspended Jackson for the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament because of the incident.

The 6-foot-8 Jackson has now resolved two cases that had dogged him during his lone year at Kansas. He earlier reached a diversion agreement that requires him to attend anger management classes, write a letter of apology and refrain from using alcohol or recreational drugs for a year for his confrontation with a Jayhawks women's basketball player last year.

Jackson had pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage after he argued with McKenzie Calvert on Dec. 9 outside a bar in Lawrence. He signed the diversion agreement on April 26.