The Bulls may be shamefully electing to sit out the top levels of free agency tonight, but they did make a quick strike.
First reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo!, the Bulls are signing forward Thaddeus Young to a 3 year, $41M contract.
Young, who just turned 31 last week, finished his 3rd season with the Indiana Pacers and was an unrestricted free agent. He’s a forward who has historically played both the 3 and 4 spots, though in recent years in small-ball lineups has drifted more to the power forward position. A stretch option in this role was a definite need off the Bulls bench, and presumably Young will play behind both Otto Porter and Lauri Markkanen.
The shooting has improved for Young in his career but still isn’t truly ‘stretch-4’ level. He upped his attempts and percentages the last few years, but still wound up at roughly 2 attempts per 36 minutes, and hitting at under a 35% clip.
Defensively, Young is well-reputed if a bit slight to guard the larger PFs. But he can typically more than hold is own against fellow combo forward options like himself.
Will also have to wait and see if that 3rd year is a guaranteed, previous reports were that the Bulls were insisting on 2-years maximum contract length because they’re cheap.
(indeed, shortly after publishing here I see that KC Johnson is reporting some ‘team protection’ on that 3rd year)
So this ultimately looks to be a pretty solid if unspectacular signing, and it does fill a need.
The Bulls are getting a steady high floor veteran in Thaddeus Young. His RPM finishes the last six seasons at power forward:— Bulls Gold (@BullsGold) June 30, 2019
2019: 1.89 (11/93)
2018: 1.09 (18/78)
2017: 0.85 (19/61)
2016: 0.76 (22/51)
2015: 1.20 (15/40)
2014: 1.70 (10/34)
(interestingly, just came across that similarly-styled Al-Farouq Aminu signed for 3/$29m with the Orlando Magic)
That said, there’s opportunity cost in that now the Bulls look to have only around $10m remaining in cap room, with still a gaping hole at point guard. And if they were not looking like they were playing with the $20+ million free agents before, they definitely aren’t now.