The first day of NBA free agency will always be a madhouse once the clock officially strikes 6:00 p.m. ET, and the Toronto Raptors were not exempt from that wildness. The Raptors at least had their perfect plan ready to go when the gun went off, and Masai Ujiri executed it by bringing back Thad Young and Chris Boucher.
The Raptors are not totally done just yet, as they still have a mid-level exception that could be used to add some top-flight talent without paying a considerable price. Considering some of the deals handed out on Day 1, Toronto retaining their own should be seen as a massive win.
In a time when the Atlantic Division is on the precipice of being completely turned upside down thanks to what is going on in New York City, Toronto should feel confident about how the team looks going into a season where they are expected to be a serious competitor in the Eastern Conference.
The ripple effects of Toronto’s Day 1 moves will be felt throughout the team and the division. Some parties can come away from last night feeling great, while some might be a little more down in the dumps after what transpired.
Winners and losers from Toronto Raptors’ Day 1 free agency moves
Winner: Thad Young
Young would have had interest from any number of contenders if Toronto let him test the open market, but it seems like they were not willing to let someone with his skills get away so easily. A two-year deal worth around $16 million (that could rise if Young hits various incentives) is fair for all parties.
Young is smart enough to know that his days of scoring 15 points per game are in the past. Instead, he needed to reinvent himself as a bench glue guy who can defend and pass while hitting some timely jumpers. Toronto will give him the chance to scratch that itch.
Thad Young will fit in with the Toronto Raptors in 2022-23.
Some of Toronto’s most successful lineup combinations over the last few weeks of the season came with Young operating as a small-ball big man who helped with spacing, defense, and distribution. While Boucher coming back is a nice touch, Young may be the more impactful piece.
Young is looking to compete for a championship, but he wasn’t about to sacrifice a chance to get a nice payday and fill a role in which he clearly has had success. Young coming back to Toronto is a perfect intersection of value and fit.