Pacers salary series: Joe Young


In this series, 8p9s writer Tony East breaks down the contract situation of each Pacers player. In this edition, we’ll look at point guard Joe Young.

Joe Young enters this season as the Pacers third point guard. On a typical night, if he touches the floor, something has gone wrong for Indiana. Either someone above him in the rotation has become injured, or the Pacers are losing by a significant number of points. Whichever situation it is, neither are ideal.

What Joey Buckets does offer is a bit of promise. With 15.4 points and 5.5 assists per 36 minutes in his career, he has shown that he can play on offense when given the opportunity. Unfortunately, his sample size of minutes isn’t big enough to make any conclusions about his play, and his defense has been underwhelming to say the least.

2017-18 season

The Pacers are paying him for that offensive upside this season. He is making the minimum for a three-year NBA veteran, just $1,471,382, and he carries a cap hit of the same amount. There are certainly better players the Pacers could get for the same amount of money, but none of them have the potential that Joe Young may have. Young has also spent two years with the Pacers, so he knows the system and the front office well, which adds a small amount of value.

2018 summer and beyond

The Pacers have a team option on Joe Young’s contract next summer. They have a few options on how they can handle that team option, depending on what the front office deems the best course of action.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Accept – The Pacers could accept the team option and bring Young back for a fourth season on the minimum. This would keep him on the Pacers and give the team the option to make him a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019 if they so choose.

  • Decline – Kevin Pritchard could decide to let Joe Young go, which would create $1.6 million of cap space and a roster spot for Indiana.
  • Decline with qualifying offer – Finally, the team could decline his team option and extend Young a qualifying offer, but it would make almost no sense. They would do this if they want to send Young into restricted free agency next summer. But that would be foolish, because they could just have him be a restricted free agent the following summer, so there is no point of making him a more expensive player one summer early.
  • Prediction time

    It is unlikely that the Pacers bring back Young next season. He is hardly worth his contract now, and they could use their cap space much more effectively next summer. If Young shines in his minutes this season, he could be back, but he has shown very little to suggest that will happen.

    Next: Oladipo and Lance try out other careers

    Young has upside, no doubt. But unless he cap tap into his potential this season, it is unlikely we will see much more of Joe Young in a Pacers uniform.