Pacers await Thad Young’s decision

Thad Young, Pacers

Thursday was memorable for Pacers forward Thad Young. He turned 30 years old, so appropriately he spent the day on a yacht down in South Beach with those close to him.

Over the next week, however, Young has an important decision to make. A personal decision, a decision that he’s earned. Thad has a player option due by next Friday (June 29). If he exercises the option, he’ll be in Indy for a third season and earn $13.76 million.

Young, though, would prefer to sign something long-term, a new contract that would lock him into guaranteed money at this stage of his career — having just completed his 11th season in the NBA. The Pacers front office is just just like all of us and awaiting Young’s choice.

“We’ve had a few conversations with his agent, but at the end of the day it’s his decision,” Pacers President Kevin Pritchard said Thursday after the 2018 NBA Draft. “We’d like to have him back. We’d like to keep this core back.

“I think he’s exploring what he can get, but we don’t have that indication either way.”

Young’s agent could not be reached for comment.

This is a tough summer free agents, with only a half-dozen teams having cap space. That only adds to the difficulty of the decision for Young, who would prefer to have additional years and money guaranteed.

[Mitchell retires Thad’s high school jersey; he upgrades school’s weight room]

The Pacers have already received the official paper work from Cory Joseph, who exercised his player option. They plan to bring back starting point guard Darren Collison for another season. He’s coming off the best season of his career and has a minimal guarantee. If not waived before July 1, he’s contract becomes guaranteed for $10 million.

Pritchard estimates that they will have about $20 million in cap space, assuming key rotation players return.

As of June 21, they have only five players under contract for certain, at about $39 million. Young has his option, the Pacers hold options on Lance Stephenson ($4.36 million) and Joe Young ($1.6 million), who is as good as gone. Then, there are three players with non-guaranteed deals: Darren Collison (10 million), Bojan Bogdanovic ($10.5 million), and All Jefferson ($10 million).

The franchise likes where they are at and Pritchard is committed to bringing back the rotational players from last year who “wildly overachieved.” That group took the Cavaliers to seven games, but did not have enough firepower.

That’s where free agency comes in.

“Where we really get better is July 1,” says Pritchard. “That’s where this is set up to, when we traded Paul (George) and we brought in Domas and Victor, part of that whole equation was being able to setup for $20 million in cap space on July 1. I’m not saying we’re going to sign a guy. I think there could be uneven trades; a lot of things could happen with that.”

Young played in all 81 games — he was held out of the regular-season finale — and averaged 11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game last season. The biggest weakness in his game came at the foul line, where he shot 59.8 percent. He was voted co-captain by his teammates, along with Myles Turner, and has been Mr. Consistent since joining the Blue & Gold.

“If you just took Thad and said, ‘Let’s look at his points and rebounds and all of that,’ you’d say he’s a pretty good player,” Pritchard shared at his usual end-of-season press conference on May 1. “But then when you are around him, and what he did with his leadership this year and made sure we stayed together — he brings an inordinate amount of value.”

2 Responses to Pacers await Thad Young’s decision
  1. Michael Bradbury
    June 22, 2018 | 2:52 pm

    He really was the glue it seemed.

    • Scott Agness
      June 22, 2018 | 4:13 pm

      That’s fair. Never a vocal leader, but when he spoke guys listened. A good role model and one of the guys that wanted this group to continue on at the trade deadline last year. There’s a reason he was voted co-captain.

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