Thaddeus Young

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Niang, Trent Jr., Barnes, Young

Sixers star center Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s home game against the Pistons, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Embiid has missed the past three games with a sore left foot, including Philadelphia’s road win over Detroit on Sunday. P.J. Tucker is probable with a sinus infection after missing Sunday’s game.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers forward Georges Niang hopes he’ll get an invitation to participate in the 3-point contest on All-Star weekend, according to Pompey. “The three-point contest, obviously, if you’re an NBA fan, you’ve paid attention to it and watched it,” Niang said. “If you ever get a chance to be a part of that, it would be an honor.” Niang is a career 40.7% 3-point shooter and has made 42% of his attempts this season.
  • It’s no lock that the Raptors will deal Gary Trent Jr. before the trade deadline, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange said on “The Raptors Show.” (video link). After a rough patch, Trent has averaged 25 points per game in his last seven contests. Trent came off the bench for a stretch during a shooting slump. “He’s earned a lot of respect for how he’s handled himself as a pro and you look at his profile, his age, those guys are hard to find,” Grange said. However, Toronto will explore all options. “I don’t think it’s a certainty they’ll trade him. but I think it’s a certainty they’ll listen,” Grange added. Trent has an $18.56MM player option for next season.
  • Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young exchanged words during halftime of the Raptors’ game against Portland. They downplayed the incident, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. “It was just a little disagreement. It was nothing serious,” Barnes said. “You have some disagreements but it was nothing serious.” Young said, “We just had a disagreement. No different than brothers going back and forth, especially when we’re both passionate about the game.” (Twitter link).

Raptors Notes: Achiuwa, Young, Hernangomez, Barnes, Trent

Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa has been sidelined since November 9 after sustaining partial ligament tears in his right ankle and will remain on the shelf for the foreseeable future. Head coach Nick Nurse told reporters on Monday that it will be another two or three weeks before the team even has a clearer sense of a timeline for Achiuwa’s return, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

One silver lining of Achiuwa’s injury is that it has given two other Raptors bigs an opportunity to prove their mettle as regular contributors.

Veteran forward/center Thaddeus Young has averaged 10.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG in eight games (26.7 MPG) since Achiuwa went down, while forward Juancho Hernangomez has averaged 6.6 PPG and 6.5 RPG in the same eight games (24.2 MPG). Neither player was a rotation mainstay during the early part of the season.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Young and Hernangomez were in the Raptors’ starting five on Monday vs. Cleveland, even with forward Pascal Siakam back in the lineup for the first time in 10 games. As Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes, Gary Trent Jr. came off the bench for the first time this season and just the fourth time as a Raptor, while Scottie Barnes was a reserve for the first time in his NBA career.
  • Nurse didn’t say whether the new-look lineup would stick beyond Monday’s game, but explained to reporters that he wanted to maintain some continuity and not have so many players who were coming off absences (Siakam, Barnes) or struggling (Trent) in his starting five.
  • While both Barnes and Trent said on Monday that they were fine with the change, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca suggests that Barnes “didn’t seem thrilled about his demotion” to the bench. When he received some push-back on his interpretation, Lewenberg posted the video clip of Barnes addressing the move, tweeting that the reigning Rookie of the Year “didn’t sound like somebody who was psyched about his (temporary) move to the bench.” Lewenberg expects Barnes to be back in the starting five in short order if he shows he’s healthy and can be more consistent.

Raptors Notes: Injuries, Trent, Young, Anunoby

The Raptors have been hit hard by the injury bug this month and played Wednesday’s game – a loss to Brooklyn – without Pascal Siakam (groin), Fred VanVleet (non-COVID illness), Scottie Barnes (ankle), Precious Achiuwa (ankle), Dalano Banton (ankle/illness), and Otto Porter Jr. (toe).

Although head coach Nick Nurse is known for getting creative with lineups and schemes, he said on Wednesday that he’s not exactly relishing the opportunity to have to cobble together five-man units without so many of his key players available, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

“Not really, to be honest with you. Once in a while, you might enjoy the challenge, but not for three weeks in a row here. It’s getting… it’s not that enjoyable,” Nurse said. “… It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not like we haven’t played very well, because I think we have. If you look at some of our metrics… I think we’re still top 10 in offense and defense in the league and all that stuff, with all these injuries we’ve had for multiple weeks.”

The Raptors do have the 10th-best offensive rating in the NBA (112.7), but have slipped a few spots on defense in the last week and now rank 14th in defensive rating (110.9).

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Gary Trent Jr.‘s offense has been up and down this season, as he’s shooting just 40.7% from the floor and 31.1% on three-pointers, his worst marks since his rookie year. However, Nurse is more concerned about Trent’s regression as a defender this season, and issued a challenge this week to the fifth-year swingman. “We’re gonna get him his shots and get him his points, but we want him to be a disruptor,” Nurse said, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. “He kinda fits us if he does that, and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t fit us.”
  • According to Lewenberg, the Raptors told inquiring teams over the summer that they view Trent as an important part of their core, so it’s unlikely that stance has changed this early in the season. Still, he’ll be a player worth watching as the season progresses. He holds an $18.8MM player option for 2023/24, so he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer if he declines that option.
  • Veteran forward Thaddeus Young wasn’t part of Toronto’s regular rotation during the first couple weeks of the season, but he has been playing more lately and has provided some stability with so many players sidelined, Lewenberg writes in a separate TSN.ca story. “He’s been good. He’s doing a good job leadership-wise, too,” Nurse said of Young. “He’s good in the huddles and he’s trying to keep those guys going. So, he’s been a true pro.”
  • The Raptors have several talented defenders on their roster, but OG Anunoby has turned into the club’s top weapon on that side of the ball, says Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Anunoby is under contract through the 2023/24 season, with a player option for ’24/25, and will become extension-eligible next October.

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Durant, Embiid, Raptors

The Nets may be having second thoughts about hiring Ime Udoka as their next head coach, tweets NBA reporter Marc Stein, who hears that “strong voices” are warning owner Joe Tsai about the potential move. Udoka emerged as the “strong frontrunner” for the job almost immediately after the decision to part ways with Steve Nash was announced last Tuesday.

However, league sources tell Stein that people close to Tsai are warning him to reconsider any commitment to Udoka considering the atmosphere of turmoil in Brooklyn. Udoka would bring additional baggage after being suspended for the season as Celtics head coach following an affair with a team staffer.

Jacque Vaughn continues to serve as interim coach and has led the Nets to a 2-1 record, with back-to-back road wins over the weekend.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets star Kevin Durant is interested in being part of the ownership group for the NFL’s Washington Commanders if the team is put up for sale, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant is a long-time fan of the team, but he might have competition from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and recording artist Jay-Z if current owner Dan Snyder decides to sell. “Our market is incredible,” Durant said. “There’s a lot of support in D.C., a lot of money in D.C. to be made. … Regardless of what’s going on, they pretty much built that team up, built that stadium, built the brand up pretty nicely. I know we’ve had some losing seasons, but it’s starting to come around for us. I’m excited as a fan. I’m excited about the sale. I’m excited to see who they bring in and who they sell the team to and see how we move forward with it.”
  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers believes there’s a “75% chance” Joel Embiid will return tonight after missing three straight games with an illness, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He looked good,” Rivers said after watching Embiid at Sunday’s practice. “I mean listen, he had the flu and it’s hard. Your lungs are burning and he [still] looked pretty good.” Rivers plans to run the offense through Embiid while James Harden is sidelined with a strained tendon in his right foot. Harden is wearing a walking boot, and the foot is currently non-weight-bearing, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The Raptors will need someone to replace the contribution of Pascal Siakam while he’s out of action with an adductor strain, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Veterans Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter looked good in Sunday’s win over the Bulls. “They just know kind of where to be … so that felt like the right move, playing those guys tonight just because the schemes were pretty tricky,” coach Nick Nurse said.

Atlantic Notes: Young, Porter Jr., Maxey, Simmons

Veteran forward Thaddeus Young has played sparingly for the Raptors and he’s surprised by his lack of playing time, he told Josh Lewenberg of TSN.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s definitely a tough situation to be in but I’ve just got to bear with it and continue to be there for my teammates, continue to trust in what I’m doing as a player, and hopefully when the time comes I’ll be ready to go out there and take care of business.”

Young has only appeared in four games, averaging eight minutes when he’s seen the floor. Young is signed through next season but only $1MM of his 2023/24 salary is guaranteed.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. has been ruled out against Atlanta on Monday due to personal reasons, Lewenberg tweets. Porter, who has also dealt with a hamstring injury, is expected to return later in the week. However, he will likely require a full practice or two before making his season debut, Lewenberg adds.
  • Tyrese Maxey has made 46.8% of his 3-pointers this season and Joel Embiid says his Sixers teammate needs to increase his long-range attempts, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “He’s one of the best shooters and he has the potential to be up there. You know, a great stroke,” Embiid said. “He can really shoot the ball, great form and he makes them. There’s a reason I’m always on him to just let it fly. He’s got to get up 10 to 15 threes a game. That’s how good of a shooter he is.”
  • While the Nets are off to an awful start, Ben Simmons hasn’t lost any confidence in the team’s long-term prospects, according to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. “I believe we can be the best team in the NBA,” Simmons said. The former No. 1 overall pick is off to a slow start after missing last season, averaging 6.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Raptors Notes: Young, Porter, Boucher

Raptors reserve forward Thaddeus Young has seen his role reduced in the early going this season, having been a DNP-CD for a couple games. Head coach Nick Nurse discussed how he saw the vet fitting into the club’s rotation, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link).

“He’s gotta stay ready,” Nurse said. “I talked to him immediately after the Miami game and he [said], ‘Coach, I’m ready and I’ll always be ready’ and totally with what we’re doing, all that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t say that I planned on not using him [in] Miami that night, it’s just kinda how it turned out… We’re gonna need him, there’s just no doubt about it… It’s kinda a night-to-night thing.”

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Nurse said that Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. will be unavailable “for a bit” due to undisclosed personal reasons, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link). Nurse suggested that the 6’8″ vet, who signed a two-year, $12.4MM contract with Toronto after winning a title with the Warriors last season, will be part of the team’s rotation once he makes his debut, Lewenberg adds (via Twitter).
  • Raptors reserve big man Chris Boucher has been a helpful change-of-pace figure for the club as a key backup, writes Lewenberg for TSN.ca. “It’s important for me to bring energy and I think that’s a way to show that I’m ready to the coach and also to myself,” Boucher said. Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet likes the new dimension that his teammate brings to the court: “He just plays with a little bit more energy than the rest of us at times. Fresh legs and just being able to fly around, throw some corner-threes in, [grab] offensive rebounds. He just finds creases that a guy like him is skinny enough to slip through. He’s just a great presence for us out there.” 
  • In case you missed it, the Raptors were projected by Forbes as the NBA’s 11th-most valuable franchise, with an estimated worth of $3.1 billion.

Raptors Notes: Roster Battles, Porter Jr., Young, Barnes, Birch

The battle for the final roster spots on the Raptors‘ regular season roster is ongoing at training camp, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. The team currently has 12 spots believed to be locked in.

According to Lewenberg, Justin Champagnie, D.J. Wilson and Josh Jackson are expected to compete for the final roster spot, while Juancho Hernangomez and Dalano Banton will likely claim the other two.

“We do a staff vote every single day, and that vote changes every single day,” head coach Nick Nurse admitted.

The Raptors must trim their training camp roster down to 17 players (which can include two two-way players) by October 17 at 5:00 pm ET. Toronto has established itself as a team that prioritizes length and defensive versatility. The team went 48-34 last season, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Here are some other notes out of Toronto:

  • Otto Porter Jr. recently tweaked his hamstring in camp, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Nurse said Porter may be out for a “little bit.” Porter signed a two-year deal to join the team this past summer. In addition, Grange relays that Thaddeus Young (knee) is day-to-day. Young is once again expected to provide frontcourt depth off the bench for Toronto this season.
  • Second-year player Scottie Barnes is impressing Nurse and the team in training camp, Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press writes (link via The Toronto Star). Barnes won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award last season. “It feels like it’s better and he’s making more in the rhythm of what we’re doing,” Nurse said. “He’s not hesitating to take them at all, the threes. He’s still doing the rest of the stuff. He’s got that long, slow, strong drive where he puts it in the basket. He’s got that pull-up thing when he has a size advantage. But the frequency with which he’s letting them go is certainly on the rise.”
  • Big man Khem Birch discovered he suffered a torn meniscus when he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee this offseason, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets. Birch isn’t 100% yet, but he’s working his way back. The 30-year-old appeared in 55 games with Toronto last season, averaging 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per contest.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, SGA, Porter, Sixers, Hartenstein

The Raptors were repeatedly tied to big-name trade candidates this offseason, rumored to be possible suitors for Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Kevin Durant. Toronto ended up having a relatively quiet summer, making only minor tweaks to its roster, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who says the club is counting on internal growth from its own players, including Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.

Still, while the Raptors didn’t take a big swing in the last few months, that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to make a major trade at some point to move closer to title contention. A league source tells Lewenberg that one situation the Raptors are “closely monitoring” is in Oklahoma City, in case Thunder star and Toronto native Shai Gilgeous-Alexander eventually seeks a change of scenery.

The Thunder have only won a total of 46 games in the last two seasons and appear headed for another lottery finish in 2022/23, but there’s no indication Gilgeous-Alexander is seeking an exit ramp out of town. He said this week that he knew what he was getting into when he signed a five-year extension with OKC a year ago and that he doesn’t think the team will keep losing for much longer.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • When he became a free agent and was weighing his options this summer, Otto Porter Jr. got in touch with forward Thaddeus Young to seek his opinion on Toronto, tweets Lewenberg. Young helped convince his former Bulls teammate to sign with the Raptors. “He’s one of my better friends in the league,” Young said. “He asked me questions and I said, ‘Come on through, sign the deal and let’s go.'”
  • Head coach Doc Rivers is pleased with the moves the Sixers‘ front office made this offseason, telling reporters this week that the team addressed the holes it was hoping to fill. “We had a targeted summer, and we hit pretty much what we’re looking for,” Rivers said, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “… We have to learn how to become a team first, and if we do that, I love who we are.”
  • Center Isaiah Hartenstein explained on Tuesday that he signed with the Knicks as a free agent this summer because they made him feel “wanted” and because he believes his ability to shoot and make plays from the center position will add a new dimension to the team. “I felt like I can bring something that they didn’t have, to help them win,” Hartenstein said, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, T. Young, Celtics, Joe

One of this summer’s top free agents, star guard James Harden, still doesn’t have a new deal in place, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during an appearance on SportsCenter on Tuesday (video link) that Harden and the Sixers will likely agree to terms sooner rather than later. The two sides reportedly met in the Hamptons over the weekend and will resume negotiations early this week.

“Those (talks) are expected to pick up today, tomorrow,” Wojnarowski said. “You can expect Harden and his representative and (president of basketball operations) Daryl Morey in Philly to really sit down and hammer that deal out here, perhaps as soon as the next 24 hours.”

Harden turned down a $47MM+ player option for 2022/23 and is expected to finalize a longer-term deal with a lower starting salary in order to allow the Sixers to maximize their cap flexibility this season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Thaddeus Young‘s new two-year contract extension with the Raptors has a base value of $8MM per season, with $150K in annual likely bonuses and another $350K in annual unlikely bonuses, Hoops Rumors has learned. Year one is fully guaranteed, while Young’s 2023/24 salary is partially guaranteed for $1MM — he would receive his full ’23/24 guarantee if he remains under contract through June 30, 2023.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston considers the remaining decisions on the Celtics‘ offseason to-do list, including whether or not to use their $17MM+ trade exception and who will get the final spots on their projected 15-man roster.
  • Sixers shooting guard Isaiah Joe, whose minimum salary for 2022/23 is non-guaranteed, will be trying to show during the Salt Lake City Summer League this week that his game can translate to the NBA level, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The thing I really want to build is consistency, especially for a contending team,” Joe said. “They don’t have any time for inconsistent players. So they are really looking for consistency out of me just like they are looking for consistency out of Joel (Embiid) and James.”

Scotto’s Latest: Jazz, Raptors, Nets, DiVincenzo

Before they reached an agreement to send Rudy Gobert to Minnesota on Friday, the Jazz asked the Raptors about the possibility of acquiring forward OG Anunoby and swingman Gary Trent Jr., league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Toronto was linked to Gobert repeatedly during the first half of the offseason. Still, as great as the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is, it was never clear how badly the Raptors wanted to break up their core to acquire a big man who didn’t fit the versatile, switchable, and positionless brand of basketball the team has adopted. Whether the Raptors balked at Utah’s asking price or the Jazz simply preferred Minnesota’s offer, Gobert is off the table for Toronto.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Celtics, Bucks, Nets, and Bulls are among the teams that expressed interest in Chris Boucher before he agreed to re-sign with the Raptors, while forward Thaddeus Young – who is also returning to Toronto – drew interest from the Celtics and Pacers, according to Scotto.
  • The Nets made it a priority this offseason to land a wing defender capable of guarding multiple positions, which was why they agreed to trade for Royce O’Neale even as news of Kevin Durant‘s trade request was breaking. As Scotto explains, the Nets and Jazz previously explored a deal involving O’Neale and Joe Harris prior to the in-season trade deadline.
  • In addition to receiving interest from teams willing to give him the full taxpayer mid-level exception, Donte DiVincenzo also received an offer from a team with cap space that would’ve exceeded the two-year, $9.3MM contract he’s signing with the Warriors, says Scotto. The second-year player option Golden State gave him and DiVincenzo’s belief that the Warriors give him the best opportunity to play for a contender were factors in his decision to accept less money, Scotto adds.