By Jack Allen
The Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers made a 3 way trade earlier this month. Minnesota received Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and $6.3 Million. The 76ers received a 1st round pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Alexey Shved. And of course, Cleveland landed Kevin Love. Kevin Love for the last six years has been the face of the T-Wolves franchise, but now joins up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in what the players are calling, “The Land.” Kevin Love has never played in a playoff game in his career and neither has Kyrie Irving. I can honestly say that I believe in LeBron and the Cavs starting five through the regular season to finish atop the Eastern Conference. When it comes to playoff time, will Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers be ready? Due to lack of experience Im seeing a first round exit to possibly the Hawks, Knicks or the Nets. Each of those teams have playoff experience and aren’t projected to place at the top of the conference, but can compete with top teams.
As for the 76ers, I don’t think they are close to being a top team yet, and they’ll probably finish in the cellar similar to last season. They have a very bright future with young blue chip prospects such as Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, and their latest 1st rounder, Joel Embiid. The Sixers will probably have the opportunity to draft another top prospect and only then will they be ready for a possible playoff-birth in a year from now. Looking at this season though, it’s going to be a rough time for Sixers fans as they watch their team struggle through their schedule in a deep rebuild.
Finally, the T-Wolves. With a completely new look, I already think that they’ll contend to reach the playoffs. It would mark the first time since the 2003-04 season that the Timberwolves were in the playoffs, when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. They likely should make the playoffs this season, led by the young guns of Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett, and Zach LaVine, in addition to Ricky Rubio. With a motivated and passionate fan base, the team is primed for a return to playing basketball in late April into May. I’m predicting that Andrew Wiggins will win rookie of the year and will be the leader of the team. Not once had they made it to the playoffs with Love, but with the core that they have now, the Timberwolves will be good for a long time in the NBA. They should start off the next few years in the middle of the pack with early playoff exits, but two seasons down the road they’ll be definite title contenders if they can keep their core players. I’d say that the Timberwolves were the real winners of this trade but it should be fun to see how it plays out!
Jack Allen is a writer for dabuzzza.com. He is a fan of the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Queens Park Rangers, and West Virginia Mountaineer football and basketball. His favorite athletes are David Wright, John Tavares, Geno Smith, Allen Iverson and Charlie Austin. He is a very passionate and determined fan. You can follow him on twitter @JackAllen99.
By Dan Lagnado
The New York Mets spent money on a free agent! I repeat, the Mets have spent money! It was reported last week that the Mets signed outfielder Chris Young (no, not the one that pitched for them a few seasons ago, but the other one). Young played last season with the Oakland A’s but spent seven of his eight seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Young is a right-handed hitter who has the ability both to hit for power as well as use his speed on the base paths. However, in the past two years, Young has struggled. He hit .200 and .231 in 2013 and 2012 respectively while combining for 26 homeruns and 81 RBI. In 2010 alone he hit 27 homeruns and 91 RBI with 28 stolen bases. His past two down seasons aside, Young still has career averages of 24 homeruns, 73 RBI and 20 stolen bases. The Mets are hoping that he can return to these kind of numbers and give a boost to an outfield in need.
I don’t think this is a bad deal for the Mets. That said, it is not the only move to make and does not answer every outfield question. Young is a solid defensive outfielder with more assists in his career than errors. It’s unclear where he will be playing but he has experience at all three outfield spots, though most of that in centerfield. Even in his subpar seasons Young has had success against left-handed pitching making him at worst a platoon outfielder. At best, Young will be able to regain his 2010 form and become a significant part in a Mets lineup in need of both power and speed.
One thing that I think was a mistake for the Mets was the price. Young signed for one year, which limits risk and was a technique we saw last year with Marlon Byrd. This allows the Mets not to be tied down to a long-term deal with a player who may not contribute. However, the one-year will cost the Mets $7.25 million, making Young the highest paid player that isn’t named David Wright. This is a large monetary commitment to a player who could end up only being a platoon outfielder.
All in all, this move has a chance to pay-off for New York if Young can return to All-Star form. However I would look for them to still sign another outfielder, possibly a left-handed bat in case a platoon is needed. This lineup is hardly a finished product and much of the roster is still in flux. However, this is a nice fairly low-risk signing in terms of years and it is good to see the Mets getting involved so early in the free agency process when last year they didn’t sign a free agent until almost February. I would look for a few more free agent signings from this team as well as a potential trade or two in the works as the team continues to look to the future, though the a much nearer future than in years past.
Dan Lagnado is studying communications, law economics and government at American University. He’s a fan of both the Mets and Jets and has been writing about sports for four years. You can follow him on twitter at @dlag1995