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NBA Rumors: The Key to the Cavs, 76ers, TWolves Deal?

Dion Waiters could be the key to completing a Kevin Love deal… Blake Griffin has a back injury… The NBPA finally taps an executive director.

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Timberwolves want Thaddeus Young

The Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed interest in Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young as a potential replacement for Kevin Love, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves, while continuing to discuss trade proposals that would send Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, have been exploring their options for acquiring Young from the Sixers, either through a separate transaction or as part of an expanded Love trade.

Whether Philadelphia proves willing to part with Young, though, remains to be seen.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

Young is coming off of a career season scoring wise, averaging 17.9 points per game as the featured option for the Philadelphia 76ers most of the year. Finding a way to incorporate the 76ers into a potential Love trade could be the sweetener that helps get this deal done, since so far it seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers are coming up just short in their quest to acquire Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves directly.

The 76ers are clearly focused on the future and have always been open to trading Young, or anyone on the roster from the pre-Sam Hinkie regime for that matter, but they’ve yet to receive an offer worth seriously considering. With the potential for Young to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, though, by exercising his Early Termination Option and declining his 2015-16 salary of $9.97 million it’s time to start seriously seeing what the market has to offer.

With their frontcourt of the future already in place with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Dario Saric,who will be developing overseas for at least the next year, Hinkie would probably prefer to pluck away the premiere player available in this deal not named Andrew Wiggins. That would be Dion Waiters, who boasts a career average of 15.9 points per game after his first two years in the NBA. By being roughly $20 million under the cap, the 76ers can absorb more than just the value of Young’s contract, although they almost certainly won’t be willing to take any long-term deals unless they’re on the rookie scale like Waiter’s. At least one draft pick will have to be headed Philadelphia’s way for Hinkie to play game as well.

Blake Griffin ailing

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin withdrew last week from Team USA training camp for the FIBA World Cup because he was advised by doctors to give a small fracture in his back more time to heal before the start of the next NBA season, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.

Griffin is expected to make a full recovery from the injury, which sources say was suffered during the playoffs. However, doctors advised him to sit out international competition this summer for precautionary reasons.

via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles

This was the fear when Griffin pulled out, stating at the time that it was solely to focus on the upcoming season with the Clippers.

Given his injury history and string of knee issues, anytime Griffin is ailing it’s a cause for concern. The injury reportedly occurred during the playoffs, though, and Griffin still have two months to rest before the start of training camp. Team USA is sorely going to miss him as he would have been a very strong candidate to make the final roster, but back injuries are nothing to try and push through – especially if it’s still holding him back after occurring during the playoffs.

NBPA finally taps leader

The National Basketball Players Association elected Michele Roberts, a prominent Washington civil litigator, as its executive director.
Roberts, an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, is the first woman to lead a major North American sports league union.
Roberts was the recommendation of NBPA president Chris Paul and the nine-member executive committee, winning with 32 of 34 votes among committee members and team player representatives, sources said.

via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

Click here to read Roberts’ full biography.

Her appointment ends a nearly year and a half long drought of an executive director for the NBPA, who fired Billy Hunter back in February of 2013. She received 32 of 36 votes from the executive committee and team representatives. Her strongest endorsement came from union president Chris Paul. She beat out Dallas Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery for the position.

Roberts’ election is somewhat controversial as several agents and former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse had an issue with how the process was expedited after 17 months of feet dragging. However, the union needed leadership and Roberts has all of the qualifications to fill the position Billy Hunter last held adequately.

She’ll be at the front of all player-related issues moving forward, but the most critical time of her career will be labor negotiations, which she has extensive experience in, for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement during the summer of 2017. The current CBA has been the subject of extreme criticism and the players will undoubtedly be looking for major concessions from the owners, especially on the heels of a new, likely multi-billion TV deal, which should be completed by then. She’ll be negotiating primarily with Adam Silver, who will be heading up the negotiations as commissioner for the first time, although he too has been through plenty of labor negotiations – specifically with the NBA.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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