The big news out of Sixers camp yesterday was that small forward/power forward/spark-off-the-bench extraordinaire, Thaddeus Young, agreed to a five year extension worth 43 million dollars. Lost amongst all the Thad Young hoopla was the following tweet, tweeted by Sixers beat writer Kate Fagan:
The 76ers can't move Speights until @yungsmoove21 & Hawes situations are resolved. Once there's closure there, almost certain Speights gone.
For the most part, the 24 year-old Speights has been a disappointment during his time in Philadelphia. He had an excellent rookie campaign, as a big man who could come in and score off the bench, and also provide a necessary spark with his electrifying dunks and blocks. He continued to build on his rookie campaign in year two, and his future looked extremely bright. Then he suffered a minor knee injury. For whatever reason, he hasn't been the same since. The explosiveness isn't there, he settles for too many difficult jump shots, and doesn't play a lick of defense. His game as a whole, has been on a steady decline since returning from injury his sophomore year.
If retained, a decision would have to be made on Speights next off-season at the latest. The Sixers could either A) Extend him a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent the following season B) Re-sign him via contract extension or matching another team's offer sheet, or C) Let him walk.
If any value can be had for Speights services, trading him is now is probably the best decision for the Sixers. Not just because of his contract situation, but both parties clearly need a fresh start. In theory, a young, relatively cheap, uberly-talented big man like Speights should warrant at least a few decent offers from various suitors. Unfortunately, that won't be the case because of minor character issues (like work ethic and basketball IQ) and the lack of improvement shown during his three-year career.