Should Thaddeus Young stay or should he go?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 12: Thaddeus Young
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 12: Thaddeus Young /

Thaddeus Young is the perfect veteran to mentor Indiana’s young guys off the court. On the court, however, his talents are wasted on a team without deep playoff aspirations.

In an offseason filled with turnover, Thaddeus Young has stayed put…so far.

The 6-foot-8 forward will be entering his 11th season in the NBA this October, but only his second with the Pacers. Larry Bird traded the No. 20 pick in the draft to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Young in the summer of 2016.

Back then, however, Bird was trying to build a competitive team around Paul George, the wayward superstar that now finds himself in Oklahoma City. As we’ve noted ad nauseam by now, the Pacers look a lot different than they did when Young first arrived.

Should Kevin Pritchard keep the veteran power forward around as a locker room guy and mentor, or should he put Young on the market and see what kind of draft compensation he can get in return? Let’s examine both sides.

Thad should stay

It’s hard to think up a better veteran mentor than Thaddeus Young. He’s still good enough to play heavy minutes and be above average at his position, so he’ll surely have the respect of everyone on the roster. He’s played on all kinds of teams in his career, from playoff teams in Philadelphia to race-to-the-bottom teams in Brooklyn.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

If Herb Simon is as averse to bottoming out as he appears to be, Thad Young is a good player to have. He’ll help to maintain a baseline level of competency, especially compared to some of the other teams that will be bottom dwellers in the East this year.

Young would also be a great vet for T.J. Leaf to develop under. His presence will allow the Pacers to take it slow bringing Leaf up to speed, and we’ve seen that approach work well for young fours in the league recently. Just look at Skal Labissiere in Sacramento.

Further, if Pritchard tries to move Young, he may not get a whole lot back. Young’s contract is reasonable, but it’s not nothing. Teams that aren’t trying to compete for a title likely won’t have much interest in him, and teams that are trying don’t have both matching salary and first-round picks they’d be willing to part with. It’s hard to find a deal that makes sense for both sides.

Thad should go

Having said all of that, a player like Thad doesn’t really make sense on a team like this year’s Pacers. His talents are more or less wasted, and on the court, he’s only hurting their draft pick. The Pacers have plenty of veteran leadership on the roster, and they shouldn’t pass up on flipping Young just to have more of something they already have.

More from Pacers Free Agency

Even if the price for Thaddeus Young is two second-rounders, that’s still better than zero second-rounders, and you really never know what a seemingly irrelevant pick is going to turn into. Draymond Green will remind you of that in case you ever forget.

If the Pacers want T.J. Leaf to be their power forward of the future, then there’s no such thing as too many reps with Myles Turner. Every minute that Thaddeus Young plays with the starting unit is a minute that Leaf doesn’t. Sure the slow approach may have worked for some guys, but I don’t see how giving Leaf more opportunities to develop chemistry with Turner could be a bad thing.


My gut says that Thaddeus Young will be on the roster when opening night rolls around. Past that, I’m not sure. Things may change, and a favorable destination and package may present itself closer to the trade deadline. If the Knicks move Carmelo Anthony, maybe they’ll get antsy after a few months of rebuild and want to bring Young to the Big Apple. Who knows?

As far what Pritchard should do, I say keep him around. He just might opt in to his player option next summer, and then he’ll be a very moveable expiring contract. That might be a better time to test the market. If he opts out and walks for nothing, at least Leaf had a year to glean some wisdom.

Next: Pacers Summer League recap

Thaddeus Young is really good at basketball, and he’ll help any team he’s on. We’ll keep you posted on whether that’s the Pacers going forward.