Thaddeus Young just had the defensive series of his life against Kevin Love and the Cavaliers, being the primary reason for Love’s struggles for the vast majority of that 7-game series. Will he try use this to cash in on free agency or return to the Pacers for at least one more season?
Young, one of the Indiana Pacers captains for the 2017-18 season, has a player option of just under $14 million for 2018-19.
“I know I have to make that decision by the end of June,” said Young of his player option in an interview with Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype, “but I haven’t made a final decision on what exactly I’m going to do yet.”
While he hasn’t made a commitment one way or another regarding that option, all signs from Young and the Pacers front office point towards a mutual feeling of wanting #21 back in the blue and gold for next season whether he opts in or not.
“We like those guys and we’d like to have them back,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard of both Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph (who already exercised his player option to re-join the team). “They’re core to what we do. … They both said they would like to be here in their exit interviews.”
While Young said he still needs to talk with his agent about the option, he talked a lot about “next year” with the Pacers in that same interview with Kennedy:
“Man, I think the sky is the limit for us. As a team, we’re already pretty good, but I think we’ll be so much better entering next season because we’ll all have another year of experience under our belt and we won’t be a new look team that just got together anymore. … Next year, it should be 10 times easier. There’s not much learning and acclimating that we’ll need to do; we can just pick up right where we left off and focus on getting better.”
The question for Young and his agent is likely deciding whether he wants more money in the short-term while waiting to be a free agent until next season or locking in more guaranteed money now as a player entering his 30s this summer but likely making less this season than his option would have paid.
Things could change if the business part of things simply don’t work out for both sides, but it’s easy to see both sides reaching an agreement somewhere around three years, $30 million. If Young opts in, the Pacers would still have about $10 million in cap space (with a few ways to create more space if needed). If he opts out, they have about $23.5 million in space to possibly re-sign him and others.
If all goes well, expect to see Thad back in Indiana.