By Lewis Gould
Say good-bye to Thad Young, Sixers fans.
And say hello to Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved.
The long-awaited Kevin Love trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Cleveland Cavaliers will finally be formalized soon, but there was an unexpected twist near the end: Anthony Bennett won’t go to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the three-team deal after all.
According to a person with knowledge of the deal that will be finalized on Saturday, the Cavaliers forward and 2013 No. 1 pick who was rumored to be headed for the 76ers will be retained by the Timberwolves. He’ll join 2014 No. 1 pick and fellow Cavaliers youngster Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, where the Timberwolves will also receive the Sixers’ Young and a trade exception (which allows teams to acquire players via trade without taking players back in return) worth more than $5 million.
Minnesota will send Moute, Shved (both expiring contracts) and a 2015 first-round pick (via the Miami Heat) to Philadelphia. The Cavaliers, of course, land the three-time All-Star in Love who will join LeBron James, Kyrie Irving & Co. on the most unexpected of title contenders. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the deal — which was delayed because of league rules relating to Wiggins’ contract — can’t be formalized until Saturday.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune first reported that the final terms of the three-team trade had been agreed upon.
When the deal was first agreed on in principle in early August, it was a two-team trade in which the Timberwolves would land Wiggins, Bennett and a future first-round pick. Instead, they’ll add Wiggins, Bennett, and Young to the roster that still includes the likes of point guard Ricky Rubio, shooting guard Kevin Martin, small forward Corey Brewer and center Nikola Pekovic from its 2013-14 starting lineup.
The 76ers, meanwhile, continue down their longest of rebuilding roads while losing their best player from their awful 2013-14 campaign (19-63). Young, who averaged a career high of 17.9 points, six rebounds and 2.1 steals last season, is entering the final year of his deal.