The Philadelphia 76ers were seemingly the top pick to help the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves in their mega trade. Given how the Cavaliers and Timberwolves had plenty of pieces to move, the Sixers looked equipped to help out, even if it would cost them Thaddeus Young and leave them with flop No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett. Yet according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski on August 7, the Cavaliers and Timberwolves are going forward without the Sixers, or anyone else.
Wojnarowski wrote that the Cavaliers and Timberwolves finally have a principled agreement to swap Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins, which has been expected for weeks. However, the new wrinkle is that there is no third team involved in the trade, according to sources.
Just recently, the Sixers were rumored to be ready to send Young to the Timberwolves, while they would take Bennett from the Cavaliers. But according to these new reports, Bennett will go to the Timberwolves with Wiggins, in a deal that would give Minnesota the last two No. 1 NBA draft picks.
Still, after Bennett's awful rookie season, Wiggins is the much more important piece and the new center of a rebuilding Timberwolves team. The Sixers already have a bunch of pieces to build around in their even longer rebuilding process, although they aren't healthy.
As Philadelphia waits for Joel Embiid to get healthy, hopes that Nerlens Noel is healthy now and counts on Michael Carter-Williams to back up his Rookie of the Year honors, it still needs a lot more help for them. Acquiring Bennett and giving away Young might not have been ideal help, but it could have cleared the way for something better down the line.
As of this moment, it looks like Young is staying to be trade bait for some future deal. It would have been ironic if Bennett came to Philadelphia and played with Noel, since Bennett was likely only the No. 1 pick in 2013 because of Noel's leg injury. But it seems he is starting over with Minnesota instead, while Philadelphia has much more starting over left to do.
Cleveland is now ready to bring together a Big Three of Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. At the least, it will set the bar for the kind of Big Three the Sixers hope Noel, Embiid and Carter-Williams can be in the distant future.