Grateful for Sixers years, Young excited to move on

Posted: August 29, 2014

Thaddeus Young is very happy about his new home in Minnesota, while also being appreciative of his time at his old one.

The former 76ers forward, who was traded last week to the Timberwolves, is joining a team that hasn't been to the postseason since the 2003-04 season.

Yet with young acquisitions such as Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett along with first-round pick Zach LaVine of UCLA, plus established center Nikola Pekovic and point guard Ricky Rubio, the Wolves have potential.

Then again, to make the playoffs in the Western Conference takes more than potential. Last year the Wolves were 40-42, the No. 10 team in the conference. (By comparison, Atlanta went 38-44 and was the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff team.)

Still, the Wolves are, at the moment, clearly ahead of the Sixers, a team that might be hard-pressed to match last year's 19-63 record.

So Young, who will earn $9.2 million this season and has a $9.7 million player option for the 2015-16 season, can't wait to get started in his new setting.

"It feels great," Young said. "They came after me, and they sent two guys and a pick over to get me, so that says a lot about what the organization wanted, and they went and got me. I'm very happy, very excited."

Young, who averaged 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, is expected to be one of the Wolves' leaders. He is just 26 years old but is entering his eighth NBA season.

"It's a great thing for the younger guys. It's a great thing for me," Young said. "I can step into a situation were I already kind of know some of the concepts and I can help the young guys get better."

Young admits the last two seasons were difficult in Philadelphia, when the Sixers had a combined 53-111 record.

"It was definitely tough and frustrating at times, but I've always made the best out of situations by just going out there and playing the game that I love so dearly," Young said. ". . . I still hold Philadelphia close to my heart. Those fans have been close to me ever since Day 1. They were the ones that actually picked my first jersey number in the NBA."

So even though he's headed to a better team, it isn't easy to leave Philadelphia.

"I've gotten closer and closer to Philadelphia, and for me to just leave and go it was definitely hard, and it was saddening, but at the end of the day it's a business and I know I have to start a new chapter of my life and a new journey."


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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