The Toronto Raptors were a bit more robust on the bench in the second half of the 2021-22 season than they were in prior months, and the performance of Thad Young had a ton to do with that. He was exactly the type of selfless veteran mentor that a young squad needed.
After acquiring him from the San Antonio Spurs in a move that saw the Raptors finally part with Goran Dragic, Young helped inject new life into a Raptors bench that had ranked among the worst in the league for large chunks of the season. Young used his impending free agency as a springboard to push the Raptors to the postseason.
The Raptors have to make some tough decisions in the offseason, as both Young and Chris Boucher are free agents. Irrespective of what happens with No. 25, the latest buzz is making it seem like Masai Ujiri desperately wants to make sure that Young comes back to Toronto.
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that the Raptors want to bring back Young for 2022-23 and beyond. Raptors insider Blake Murphy laid out a path towards resigning him. With about $31 million in wiggle room under the tax threshold, Toronto could sign Young and Boucher while using the mid-level exception.
The Toronto Raptors must try to retain Thad Young.
Young averaging 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game might not seem like production that would warrant being an integral rotation player, but his impact extended far beyond the box score. On a young team that was still figuring out how to win and play together, having Young on the squad was invaluable.
Some of Toronto’s most efficient lineups came with Young on the floor, as having a veteran glue guy who can rebound, defend, and find the open man made him quite the connector. After making 46% of his shots and 39% of his 3-point attempts, Young showed he can still be a bucket at this level.
The Raptors will have to contend with teams that are more ready-made contenders, as Young will likely prioritize getting a chance to slip a championship ring on his finger in free agency. A similarly-priced offer from a team in that elite tier could make it tougher for Toronto to retain him.
The Raptors may need to move their roster around a bit to accommodate Young and make the best of his abilities, but he’s skilled enough to where Toronto should try to pull out all the stops in their pursuit of him. Every contender needs that battle-scarred sage off the bench, and Young could be that for this Toronto team.