Chris Boucher, Thad Young return to Raptors: Instant analysis

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 28: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 28: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors helped turn Chris Boucher from a G League player into one of the most impactful bench players in the league over the last few seasons. For the first time in what feels like forever, Masai Ujiri faced the genuine prospect of losing him and trade acquisition Thad Young in free agency to a contender.

Boucher struggled to start last season, but he very quickly turned things around and was able to become (arguably) the team’s most reliable reserve in the last few months. That blend of defensive peskiness and offensive guts got teams across the league interested in him.

Young, who was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs in the Goran Dragic deal, immediately meshed with the culture up north and reinvented himself as a Swiss army knife that could fill multiple holes off of the bench. Ujiri clearly wanted both of them in red and black next year.

Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Raptors and Boucher have agreed to a three-year, $35 million contract. Toronto is getting a key team member back for what could be considered way below market value, making this a very solid get for Ujiri and Nick Nurse.

Chris Haynes reported that Young is coming back to the Raptors on a two-year, $16 million deal that could grow if he hits different incentives. Young did everything Toronto could have asked for last year after being picked up via trade, and Ujiri made it a priority to bring him back.

The Toronto Raptors signed Thad Young and Chris Boucher.

Over the last two seasons, Boucher has averaged 11.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game on 49% shooting from the floor and 34% from 3-point range despite some issues early in the 2021-22 campaign. His shot-blocking and perimeter defense stand out for someone his size.

The Raptors were likely going to make a concerted effort to retain Boucher after he made his mark in the pros with Toronto, but they knew they had to pay up in order to swing the momentum back in their direction. After weeks of consternation, it appears as though the Raptors and Boucher have struck a deal.

Young might not be flashy, and barely cracking six points per game with Toronto was concerning to some. However, there aren’t many veterans with his combination of skills and willingness to mentor some of the younger players on the roster. Young and Boucher are back, and the power forward depth chart is as solid as ever.

None of those issues were significant enough to where Toronto would miss out on signing him and potentially let one of their rivals scoop him up. At the end of the day, Toronto kept a homegrown talent without totally breaking the bank. That’s always a positive.

Grade: A-

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