Thaddeus Young

Eastern Notes: Young, Westbrook, Siakam, Hawks

Thaddeus Young gives the Bulls a much-needed glue guy, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Not only does Young fill the stat sheet but he also provides other valuable assets, such as contesting shots, staying in front of his man and forcing opponents to pass late in the shot clock, Smith adds. Young signed a three-year contract with Chicago that could be worth up to $43.6MM. Young will embrace a leadership role, as Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I know the task is very, very hard,” the former Pacers big man said. “I carry that weight each and every day. I know I can help these young guys get better, I know I can push them over the hump.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Adding Russell Westbrook would have made the Pistons better in the short term but it wasn’t worth the long-term risk, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. The Pistons couldn’t afford to give up future first-rounders and agree to pick swaps as Houston did to acquire Westbrook from Oklahoma City. With Blake Griffin‘s big contract and Andre Drummond holding an option to become a free agent next summer, the Pistons would not have been able to make any more notable future upgrades if they took on Westbrook’s huge contract, Langlois adds.
  • The Raptors might as well offer Pascal Siakam a max four- or five-year extension this summer, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca argues. Ben Simmons has reportedly received a similar offer from the Sixers, while Jamal Murray has already signed an extension with the Nuggets. Siakam has outperformed both of his peers in many categories, Grange notes. The Raptors also don’t have any salary-cap restraints in future seasons that would prevent them from maxing out Siakam, Grange adds.
  • Rookie of the Year finalist Trae Young and young big John Collins will see an increase in playing time, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lottery picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will also get thrown into the fire for the rebuilding Hawks. “Last year, Trae and John played about 30 minutes. They are probably going to play 35 minutes this year as they continue to grow,” Schlenk said. “De’Andre is obviously going to play a lot of minutes. Cam, we are going to play a lot.”

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Frazier, Oladipo, Stoudemire

Bulls head coach Jim Boylen is excited about the new players his team brought in this offseason, and he hopes that the additions of veterans Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky alongside rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford will allow him to deploy a deeper roster during the 2019/20 season, writes Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago.

“What we (the Bulls) talked about is we wanted to bring in high character depth that could support our current roster,” Boylen said. “I also wanted a team that was duplicit and redundant so we could play the same way (when we go to our bench).”

Specifically, Boylen spoke on how the last couple years’ lack of depth caused the Bulls to rely on G League level players whenever stars like Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen were out with injury or sickness.

“We’ve struggled the last couple years to play on a night when we had injury or illness, where we had to change our style of play before the game. I don’t want that (for the Bulls). The good teams don’t have that.”

There’s more news out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Veteran point guard Tim Frazier is eager for the opportunity that awaits him with the Pistons, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. While Frazier may see limited minutes behind Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose, Detroit sees value in having a young and experienced option in case Jackson or Rose get hurt.
  • As Jackie MacMullan of ESPN explains, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has seen his appreciation for basketball grow as he’s been sidelined with a ruptured right quadriceps tendon. Regarding watching his team’s performance during the playoffs last season, Oladipo said “It was so hard. It makes you appreciate the game more, your teammates more, even yourself more… Sometimes we don’t realize our own impact. You take it for granted. I won’t ever do that again.”
  • The Knicks do not plan on signing former NBA All-Star big man Amar’e Stoudemire to a contract for the 2019/20 season, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Stoudemire worked out for the Knicks and 14 other teams in Las Vegas on Monday. He last played in the NBA for the Heat during the 2015/16 season.

Contract Details: Knicks, Cook, T. Young, Mann

Details on the free agent contracts signed by the Knicks are starting to trickle in, with Bobby Marks of ESPN and Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter links) providing specifics on Julius Randle‘s three-year deal.

While it was initially reported as being worth $63MM, Randle’s three-year pact with the Knicks has a base value of just $18MM in its first year, per Marks. Those cap hits increase to $18.9MM in year two and $19.8MM in year three, according to Siegel, who notes that the third year is partially guaranteed for just $4MM. The agreement has about $2MM in annual unlikely bonuses which could increase the total value into the $63MM range.

Here are details on a couple more Knicks contracts, as well as some other deals from around the NBA:

  • Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton don’t technically have second-year team options on their respective contracts with the Knicks, but their second-year salaries are only guaranteed for $1MM apiece, according to Siegel (Twitter links).
  • The second season of the Lakers‘ two-year, $6MM deal with Quinn Cook is only partially guaranteed for $1MM, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It would become fully guaranteed if Cook stays on the roster through June 29, 2020.
  • Thaddeus Young‘s three-year contract with the Bulls will have a total value between $40.6MM and 43.6MM, depending on whether he earns his incentives, tweets Pincus. The third year on Young’s deal is partially guaranteed for $6MM.
  • The Clippers used their cap room to sign second-rounder Terance Mann to a four-year, $6.2MM contract before they went over the cap to acquire Paul George, tweets Bobby Marks. A minimum-salary deal for Mann would be worth about $6.13MM over four years, so it sounds like he may get slightly more than the minimum in his rookie season.
    • Update: The first two years of Mann’s deal are guaranteed, and he’ll make $1MM in year one, tweets Siegel.

Bulls Release Shaquille Harrison, Walt Lemon Jr.

The Bulls have waived Shaquille Harrison and Walt Lemon Jr., according to a press release from the team. Chicago needed the cap space to finalize the signings of free agents Thaddeus Young, which is now official, and Tomas Satoransky, who is still waiting to sign his deal. Harrison and Lemon both had non-guaranteed contracts that would have paid them $1,588,231 next season.

Harrison, 25, appeared in 73 games this year, starting 11, after signing with the Bulls last summer. He posted a 6.5/3.0/1.9 line in about 20 minutes per night.

Lemon, 26, got into six games after signing with Chicago in late March. He started the season on a two-way contract with the Celtics, but never played for them before being released in November.

Bulls Sign Thaddeus Young

JULY 6: The Bulls have officially signed Young, the team announced in a press release.

JUNE 30: Free agent forward Thaddeus Young has agreed to join the Bulls on a three-year, $41MM deal, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Young, 31, spent the last three seasons in Indiana. In 2018/19, he averaged 12.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.5 APG in 81 contests (30.7 MPG) for the Pacers, making 52.7% of his shots from the floor. He also provided defensive versatility in the club’s frontcourt.

However, with the Pacers apparently committed to playing Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis alongside one another up front, and with T.J. Warren joining the power forward mix as well, Young was the odd man out.

In Chicago, he’ll join a Bulls frontcourt that features promising young prospects Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter.

Having committed a chunk of their cap room to Young, the Bulls should still have about $10MM available to spend. The team is rumored to be in the market for a veteran point guard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Lowe’s Latest: Walker, Brogdon, Mavs, Rubio, Butler

The Celtics might be the frontrunner for Kemba Walker‘s services but devoting most of their cap space to the All-Star point guard would leave them without any proven frontcourt players and limited ways to acquire them, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an in-depth look at free agency. The addition of Walker would force coach Brad Stevens to use either Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward at power forward, Lowe notes. Walker also ran more pick-and-rolls with the Hornets than Kyrie Irving did with the Celtics, yet Irving was sometimes accused of being a ball hog, Lowe adds.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from Lowe’s column:

  • Bucks restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon will lose a suitor if the Celtics ink Walker. The Suns, Bulls, Mavericks and Pacers could potentially extend Brogdon an offer sheet but some teams are concerned about his foot issues.
  • The Mavericks are not looking to sign any high-level free agents.
  • The Pacers are looking to make a run at point guard Ricky Rubio. They are also likely to let power forward Thaddeus Young walk and go with a frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
  • The Heat could get involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes via a sign-and-trade.
  • The Nets have no interest in doing a sign-and-trade with the Timberwolves involving restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell if it means taking back Jeff Teague or Andrew Wiggins.

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Bitadze, Turner, Young

Speaking on Thursday night to reporters, including J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard acknowledged that the team isn’t expecting to have Victor Oladipo ready to go to start the 2019/20 season. Oladipo continues to recover from the torn quad tendon he suffered in January.

“I’m hopeful that he’s going to be back in December, January,” Pritchard said of Oladipo. “To put a true timeline is not really fair.”

Here are several more Pacers notes worth passing along:

  • First-round pick Goga Bitadze will join the Pacers right away rather than being stashed overseas, Michael writes. “Of any of the guys we’ve drafted in the last few years, I think he’s more polished and ready to play in an NBA game than a normal kid coming out of college,” Pritchard said of the Georgian center.
  • While the Pacers are committed to playing Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis together, with one of the two at power forward, the team will have trade options available, Michael writes. Multiple league sources have told Michael that no one on Indiana’s roster is really untouchable, though he doesn’t expect the team to move Turner, as he tweeted prior to the draft.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic remains the Pacers’ top priority in free agency, while Thaddeus Young appears less likely to be retained, per Michael.
  • Pritchard expects to be active in free agency as the Pacers look to fill out their roster, Michael relays. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We’re going to have a lot of money to go out into the marketplace,” Pritchard said. “July 1 is going to be where the real dirty work starts. We got to make some hay in free agency.”
  • More from Pritchard, via Michael: “We’ll try to be a good team next year. We’re not going to go young and try to start at the bottom. We want to win again.”

Woj’s Latest: Durant, Conley, Pacers, Draft Rumors

On Tuesday night, we relayed a pair of rumors from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said on the network’s televised mock draft special that the Lakers, Mavericks, and Knicks are among the teams interested in pursuing point guard Kemba Walker, but also cautioned that the Lakers aren’t considered frontrunners for any top free agents.

During ESPN’s draft special, Wojnarowski offered up several more tidbits worth passing along, so we’ll round them up in the space below (all links via Sagar Trika unless otherwise indicated):

  • Picking up his 2019/20 player option with the Warriors is probably a “last resort” for Kevin Durant, since he should still receive maximum-salary or near-max offers as a free agent, Wojnarowski said this morning on Get Up (video link via ESPN). We heard on Tuesday that Durant’s Achilles injury isn’t expected to deter suitors, even if it keeps him out for all of next season. Marc Berman of The New York Post confirmed today that the Knicks remain very interested in signing Durant.
  • Wojnarowski identifies the Jazz, Pacers, and Celtics as potential suitors for trade candidate Mike Conley (Twitter link). Of course, Boston would only make sense as a trade partner for the Grizzlies if Kyrie Irving leaves.
  • According to Wojnarowski, the Pacers are interested in bringing back Bojan Bogdanovic and would also like to re-sign Thaddeus Young, assuming the price is right (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks are a team to watch on draft night and may be a candidate to move up to No. 5, in Wojnarowski’s view (Twitter links). Woj expects GM Travis Schlenk to be creative and would be surprised if Atlanta ends up using both the No. 8 and No. 10 overall picks.
  • Even if the Suns and Bulls draft point guards with their first-round picks, they’d each likely try to sign a veteran in free agency, says Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • The Thunder are in “absolute win-now mode,” and Wojnarowski believes they’ll be aggressive with the No. 21 pick in trade talks (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Rose, Griffin, Young, Bulls

Derrick Rose hasn’t ruled out a reunion with the Bulls, his agent said in a radio interview on Monday. B.J. Armstrong said Rose is “open” to signing with the Bulls as an unrestricted free agent. He spent the first seven years of his career in Chicago after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Armstrong commented on Rose’s interest in the Bulls during an interview with 670 The Score which was relayed by the Sporting News.

“We’ll see what the Bulls have,” Armstrong said. “There’s no secret, there’s no doubt that in his heart, Chicago will always be there. We’ll see. I don’t know what the Bulls are going to do at this particular time. … If it presented itself, we’d be open to that conversation.”

Rose was enjoying a bounce-back season with the Timberwolves, averaging 18.0 PPG and 4.3 APG, before it was cut short due to injury. The former Bulls MVP had bone chips removed from his right elbow last month.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons All-Star forward Blake Griffin probably would be sitting out due to a left knee injury if they weren’t desperately trying to make the playoffs, coach Dwane Casey admits. The Pistons have lost four straight and need to win their last two games to ensure they’ll make the postseason for the second time in a decade. Griffin missed three games because of the sore knee but has played the last two, including a poor-shooting 16-point outing against Charlotte on Sunday. “We need him and we appreciate his effort, what he’s giving to us right now,” Casey said.
  • Pacers power forward Thaddeus Young feels he can keep going for several more years, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports. Young will be participating in the playoffs for the eighth time in 12 seasons. “It doesn’t look like I’m slowing down anytime soon. The good thing for me is I’m very, very healthy. I’m about 98 percent right now,” he said. “I’m just very happy that I’m able to play and able to continue to play. But I wouldn’t put a cap on what I’m going to play or what I’m trying to play. I have plenty left in the tank.” Young will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and will likely seek a multi-year deal.
  • Coach Jim Boylen said the Bulls could use more versatile defenders to compete in the division but he’s unsure if they should pursue a big-ticket free agent and divide up their cap space, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “How we spend the money and how it’s split up … I mean do we hope to get two good players for that chunk of money and add depth, improve our bench maybe or do we get one guy? It really depends on who shakes out [in free agency], who is available, and what happens to the rest of the teams in the league,’’ Boylen said.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Wayne Selden, Bulls, 24, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $2.86MM deal in 2017
Selden was part of the Justin Holiday deal with the Grizzlies in January. He could be a restricted free agent if Chicago chooses to extend a $1.93MM qualifying offer. Selden hasn’t done anything to convince the front office to retain his rights. He had an 18-point game in a blowout loss to Detroit on Sunday but he’s mostly been a non-factor off the bench. He’s posted a minus 4.5 Box Plus/Minus Rating, according to Basketball-Reference, which runs parallel to his career rating.

David Nwaba, Cavaliers, 26, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.5MM deal in 2018
Injuries and a lack of production have made this a ho-hum season for Nwaba, who is playing for his third team in three years. He’s had occasional outbursts, such as a 22-point outing against Brooklyn this month, but has otherwise done little to dent the stat sheet. He can be a restricted free agent if the front office extends a low-cost $1.89MM qualifying offer. The cash-strapped Cavs will probably decline that option unless they see him as a rotation piece going forward.

Jose Calderon, Pistons, 37, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.39MM deal in 2018
Calderon has carved out a nice, long NBA career that began in the 2005/06 season with Toronto. He rejoined his former Raptors coach, Dwane Casey, in Detroit as a third-string point guard after some good moments in Cleveland last season. It hasn’t gone well. Father Time has clearly caught up to Calderon, who was exposed when primary backup Ish Smith was sidelined by a adductor injury. This is likely Calderon’s last hurrah, though he could remain in the league as a coach if he so chooses.

Thaddeus Young, Pacers, 30, PF (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $54MM deal in 2015
A steady, durable big man, Young has been a consistent contributor throughout his career. This year might be best, reinforcing his value in a walk year. His Box Plus/Minus rating on Basketball-Reference is a career-best 3.1 and coach Nate McMillan has flowed with praise over Young’s play and leadership. Young doesn’t post big numbers, but he fills the stat sheet and provides intangibles that endears him to teammates and coaches. He should receive another pricey, multiyear offer this summer.

Malcolm Brogdon, Bucks, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.78MM deal in 2016
An unlikely Rookie of the Year recipient after getting drafted in the second round, Brogdon has taken his play up a level or two after an injury-marred sophomore campaign. Starting for the current top seed in the East, Brogdon is averaging 15.6 PPG on 50.5% overall shooting. He’s a 42.6% shooter from distance and is virtually automatic at the free throw line (92.8%). He also rebounds well for his position and facilitates the offense (3.2 APG). Brogdon will be a restricted free agent and the Bucks may have to match a big offer sheet to retain him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.