Thaddeus Young is near the top of the list of players likely to be traded before the February deadline. For two seasons, the veteran big had quietly played well for Chicago, particularly as a small-ball five who can defend multiple positions. He was traded to San Antonio in the DeMar DeRozan deal, but around the league teams expected the Spurs to move on and trade Young eventually.
Young sounds like a guy ready to be traded.
His minutes are down almost 10 a game this season, and with that his scoring, shot attempts, and everything else have fallen off as well. His run has dropped off even more the past couple of weeks, and Young expressed his frustration to Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com, on The Alex Kennedy Podcast.
“Right now, this situation is not ideal for me,” Young said.
“It’s super tough. It’s very tough and frustrating at times,” Young said. “But at the end of the day, I understand where this franchise is going and I understand what’s happening — the young guys have to play. Whatever happens, happens. It’s just a matter of trusting in my faith and trusting in my craft and trusting in the time that I put into the game each and every day. I’m a 15-year veteran and I’m still one of the last to leave the gym and I’m still showing up early, putting in a lot of time and a lot of work.
“If I’m not playing in games, then I have to figure out some way to stay in shape, so I’ve been doing my after-the-game conditioning as well as showing up early for three-on-three sessions. I’m not supposed to be playing those three-on-three sessions because I’m a vet, but in order to stay in shape, I have to do something. So I’m playing in three-on-three sessions with the younger guys and some of the coaches and just trying to keep my feel for the game and timing.”
Young says “my s*** is my s***” and he’s not going to put this on teammates. He still wants to be a mentor and leader on a young team that giving its heavy minutes to develop those players.
Understandably, Young wants more of a role, and there are playoff — and contending — teams that could use depth along the front line. Young has played well in the minutes he gets — his points per minute and advanced stats are in line with the past couple of years — but he’s not a fit with the Spurs plans. He will be a fit somewhere else.
Just keep Young’s name in mind when trade talks heat up, a pick or two could get a playoff team needed help along the front lines.