The Chicago Bulls have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent forward Thaddeus Young.
First reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Bulls and Young have verbally agreed to three-year, $41 million terms. According to multiple reports, the deal will include team protections, possibly a team option, on the third year of the contract.
Among half a dozen names associated with the Bulls in free agency, Young’s name was never mentioned as a possibility. Even more surprising was the cost associated with him.
The Bulls are expected to pay out about $8.5 million of Young’s $41 million contract this season, leaving them with about $14 million in remaining cap space for this upcoming season.
Young, who most recently played for the Indiana Pacers, will bring depth to the Bulls’ relatively shallow frontcourt. Depending on how the roster shapes up, Young will likely be designated behind Lauri Markkanen and recently-drafted Daniel Gafford.
Last season with Indiana, Young averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, including ten double-doubles. With the exception of the single game he did not play, the final game of the regular season, Young started every game.
Though he may not be playing as many minutes with the Bulls, Young can act as an example of professionalism for the team’s locker room, which had the youngest average age in the league last season. At 31-years old, Young will become the oldest player on the Bulls roster, barring any other free agent signings.
Even at age 31, one of Young’s best qualities is his staying power and stamina. Young played 81 games in each of the last two seasons and 70-plus games each of the two seasons before that.
Durability is a much-needed quality for the team, which Young will bring. The Bulls’ four core players – Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Markkanen and Wendell Carter – missed a combined 123 games last season.
As for on-court fit, assuming he comes off the bench, Young will be leading a talent-deprived reserve lineup. As it stands now, the Bulls’ bench’s leading scorer would either be Antonio Blakeney, who averaged 7.3 a game last season, or Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who averaged 6.8.
And if he does end up playing minutes with starters, Young won’t have to worry about on-court fit with LaVine, who Young played with for half a season in Minnesota during the 2014-15 season.
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