Pacers salary series: Thaddeus Young does the Little Things

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Thaddeus Young
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Thaddeus Young /

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

During the draft in 2016 last year, the Pacers were ready to start building their roster in a way that was designed to win games. When they were on the clock with pick number 20, they sent away the pick to Brooklyn for the experienced power forward Thaddeus Young.

Young, a 10 year NBA veteran, has career averages of 13.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. During his time with the Pacers, however, he posted only 11 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

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His season with the Pacers can be divided up into two parts: pre wrist-injury and post-injury. Before he hurt his wrist, he shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range and 52.2 percent overall. After the injury, his 3-point percentage fell to 14.3 percent, while his overall shooting percentage stayed relatively the same.

But overall, Thad was a little bit of everywhere last season. As recently discussed on Locked On Pacers, Thad is often deflecting passes, scooping up loose balls, and setting good screens. Doing the little things right is what makes Thad so valuable.

His basketball IQ shines through every night. Watch here as he recognizes his matchup is over-committing to stop him popping out, so he back cuts to the basket for an open layup:

His basketball IQ combined with his ability to succeed at many facets of the game make him valuable, and that is what he is being paid for this upcoming season.

2017-18 season

Thaddeus Young had a trade kicker with the Nets, so his contract situation is a tad confusing. His salary to be paid by the Pacers is $12,921,348. Due to aforementioned trade kicker, the Nets are paying him $1,875,000 this season because they traded him away. His salary and trade kicker combined, $14,796,348, represents his cap hit for the team. So, his cap hit is higher than the amount Herb Simon and the Pacers are actually paying him.

2018 summer and beyond

Things get interesting for Thad next summer. He has a player option at  $13,764,045, and the trade kicker expires. No matter what team he plays for, that amount will be both his cap hit and his salary.

It is tough to predict if Thaddeus Young is truly worth almost $14 million. He is a quality player, but solid power forwards like Patrick Patterson and Ersan Ilyasova got less than $10 million this summer. Because the market is getting tighter for aging power forwards, it may be smart for Thad to opt into that contract. However, if he wants long-term guaranteed money, he could opt out and sign a new contract, even with the Pacers. My estimate for such a deal would be four years, $30 million total.

An interesting story surrounding Young this season will be his trade value. The Pacers are starting a rebuild, so they would like to acquire assets in the form of younger players and future draft picks. Thad is neither of those, so they may attempt to trade him when the trade deadline rolls around.

Prediction time

Technically, this is two predictions.

First, I think next summer Thaddeus Young is going to opt into his player option. He just isn’t going to get $14 million from another team.

Second, I think the Pacers attempt to trade young before seasons end. Even if they can only get a late first round pick for him, that asset is more meaningful to the Pacers than a veteran player.

Next: 6 overly confident predictions for this season

Either way, Thad is one of the most reliable players on Indiana’s roster. However long he is on the team, he is going to be a very productive player for the squad.