The Toronto Raptors wasted no time making sure that Thad Young returned to the squad in the early stages of free agency, signing the veteran power forward to a multi-year contract that ensures he will be a key part of what Toronto is trying to do on both sides of the ball.
Young, who arrived in a midseason trade from the San Antonio Spurs, might not be the scorer he was in his prime, but his value lies in his versatility. Able to rebound, defend, and pass from multiple positions, Young is the type of player Masai Ujiri loves to covet.
In a feat many thought to be impossible, the Raptors were able to bring back both Chris Boucher and Young while still having enough cap space to sign a solid veteran backup like Otto Porter Jr. away from Golden State. Young never had a doubt this would be the case.
Young said that Ujiri and Bobby Webster made it very clear that they acquired him for multiple years rather than simply being a half-season rental. Even with interest from other teams like the Celtics, Toronto always appeared to be the leader in the clubhouse for Young.
Thad Young knew he’d return to the Toronto Raptors.
Young averaged 6.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game with Toronto. However, as was proven in the postseason, the value that he brings to the table goes beyond what can be measured in a simple box score. The wily vet is what this green Raptors squad needed.
Ujiri’s desire to make a completely positionless team at some point in the near future has led him to take an interest in signing players like Young. From a schematic point of view, very few teams can give Young the natural fit that a squad like Toronto can offer.
Young does not have a championship despite nearly a decade and a half of service in the NBA. Considering that no one would have faulted him if he took a cheaper deal elsewhere to chase a ring, the fact that Young chose to stay in Toronto proves he is a firm believer in what the team is building.
The Raptors lacked bench scoring for most of the season, but the acquisition of Young went a long way towards making sure they could improve in that area before the playoffs came around. Toronto must have made a pretty strong impression on him considering how quickly he signed.