4. Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls
Terms: Three years, $41 million (per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports)
There’s no question that the Chicago Bulls’ future will be defined by how their young core of players develops on the whole. From Zach LaVine to Lauri Markkanen to Wendell Carter Jr. to 2019 first-round pick Coby White, the Bulls are banking on their draft picks and young trade acquisitions panning out. Having said that, Chicago can’t enter a season with just those young players on the roster.
Subsequently, the Thaddeus Young signing is a great move by the Bulls front office to try and add both value and balance to the roster entering the 2019-20 season. The 31-year old forward may be getting a slightly rich contract considering that there’s almost zero chance he’s a starter given the presence of Markkanen and even Otto Porter, but his value to the team will be obvious.
Last season with the Indiana Pacers, Young averaged a solid 14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, three assists and 1.8 steals per 36 minutes with 52.7 percent shooting. While he’s a solid yet unspectacular offensive player, Young’s value off the bench for Chicago will truly be as a defensive presence, which he showcased while having a Defensive Box Plus-Minus of 2.1 last year with Indiana.
While the team defense around Young may not be at that level with the Bulls, his veteran leadership will be crucial both in that regard and for the maturation of the team as a whole. For a Chicago team that didn’t make big waves in 2019 NBA free agency, getting their hands on a player like Young is a savvy move on their part.