Scorpions Get Young(er) By Trading Young to Pittsburgh
- By Michael Miller, Day 1, 2021
LAS VEGAS - During an offseason of continuing change, the Scorpions make yet another move to their aging core, trading former All-Pro PF Orien Young to the expansion Pittsburgh Vipers for PF Quadree Ratliff and SF/PF Reggie Burke.
According to team sources, Las Vegas primarily made this move to add salary cap flexibility for future seasons. Swapping Ratliff for Young saves the Scorpions $6,250,000 for this upcoming free agency period and, as an expiring contract, allows for greater flexibility in 2022. As the team anticipates signing new key pieces Lamar Francis and Derrick Griffin next year to new contracts, the additional cap room was a necessity.
Meanwhile, team management believes Ratliff, who the Vipers acquired with their 3rd round pick in the expansion draft, may have been underutilized over his last two seasons with the New York Renegades. After making All-Defensive 2nd Team in 2017 and posting career highs in rebounds and blocks in 2018, Ratliff's minutes were reduced significantly in 2019 and 2020 for reasons that remain unknown. Las Vegas anticipates that Ratliff will likely be the primary backup big this year.
In Burke, the Scorpions obtain a true wildcard. On the one hand, he is a 21-year old senior with an "ok" wingspan and questionable shooting mechanics. On the other hand, Burke averaged 26.8 minutes per game for an Ohio State team that finished 27-5 in the regular season, finishing with the second highest PER of all starters on that team. Las Vegas has hope that he can develop into a solid wing down the road.
With a new coach, new starters and new management now entrenched, the team will be focusing on adding and building instead of swapping and selling. Interesting times in the desert . . .