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As draft nears, a Thaddeus Young trade is in play for the Sixers

As the 2014 NBA Draft draws closer, it seems less and less likely that Thaddeus Young will be a Sixer at the start of next season.

Trade speculation has swirled around Young since last summer, when fellow Sixer mainstay Jrue Holiday was traded for the betterment of the franchise's future. Since draft day, it has seemed like only a matter of time until the flexible forward was moved for picks or pieces. Many expected Young to be moved on trade deadline day along with Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner. In the end however, Young remained on the roster.

Young being traded from the only team he has known in his seven seasons as a professional will have little to do with his true talent, or his character. It will be strictly about franchise fit.

There are just too many intriguing options in the upcoming draft for the Sixers not to explore and maximize their potential picks.

Young is one of the few players on the Sixers' roster that could be very valuable as a trade chip. While he is still only 25 years old, Young is seven seasons in to his professional career, and is noticeably older than the core the Sixers are looking to build around and develop.

While Young could be valuable as a locker room guy and a veteran presence, he has a player option after the upcoming season, and the Sixers run the risk of losing him anyway. Thus, it makes some sense for the Sixers to move Young this summer while they can control where he goes and what they receive in return, an option they are obviously exploring.

But what would they get for Young, and where would he end up?

It has already been reported that the Sixers would be willing to ship Young, along with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, to Cleveland for the draft's top pick. Although such a move would ensure the Sixers of landing Andrew Wiggins, their top target, it seems somewhat unlikely.

While Cleveland's front office has admitted being open to trading the pick for the right price, it seems unlikely that Young is that price. Cleveland wants a young stud that they can build around, along the lines of Kevin Love, Al Horford or Lamarcus Aldridge, and while he is extremely talented, Young doesn't quite fit the bill. He is likely better suited for a team that already has a core constructed so that he can just come in and contribute, much like his former teammate Andre Iguodala has been able to do in Golden State.

There also remains the chance that Andrew Wiggins will be available at the third selection spot, which would nullify the Sixers' need to move up to the top spot. This would allow them to use Young as trade bait elsewhere.

Another option would be to trade Young and the 10th overall pick to a team like the Lakers or the Celtics to move back up into the lottery's top tier. This would allow the Sixers to secure their scorer/go-to perimeter player at three, while also adding a formidable forward to further fortify the frontcourt.

Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon are top talents at the forward spot and are all projected to go between picks four and nine, or just out of the reach of the Sixers' second selection. Moving up a few picks would allow access to one of these forwards. They could pair the pick with Nerlens Noel to begin to form a frontcourt foundation. With a potential lineup along the lines of: Carter-Williams/Wiggins/Randle/Noel, the Sixers would have a great young core with which to build upon.

ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford agrees that this could be a solid scenario for the Sixers, although they may have to take on Steve Nash's expiring contract.

Still another option for Young come draft day could be packaging him with some of the Sixers' several second-round picks to move back up into the later first round.

This draft is deep and there will be a lot of talent landing outside of the lottery. The Sixers need size and shooting, and trading back into the later first round would give them an opportunity to address those issues. A team like the Phoenix Suns, who have multiple first-round picks, may be willing to part with one of their picks for a player like Young.

The 25-year-old has been nothing short of excellent through his seven seasons with the Sixers, but the team is looking to build from the bottom with a young, athletic core. Young's production and versatility make him valuable across the league's landscape, and with draft day rapidly approaching, the Sixers are considering all options.