2018 Free Agency

Reports: Thaddeus Young opts into contract with Indiana Pacers

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Indiana Pacers veteran Thaddeus Young has optioned into his contract with the team according to media reports.

According to Turner Sports’ David Aldridge, the 28-year old forward will get $13.7 million for the deal. Young, who averaged 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season, avoided entering the free-agent market.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pacers could be big players in free agency this summer:

The Pacers could enter free agency with as much as $20 million in salary cap space.

Young, 30, played a leadership role for the young Pacers, who earned the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to a seven-game series in the first round.

The Pacers’ future looks far brighter now than it did 12 months ago after they were swept out of the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Back then, there questions about Paul George’s future in Indiana loomed heavily over the franchise. By late June, new general manager Kevin Pritchard was forced into a difficult choice when George’s camp made his plans public: Take one more shot at winning a title with George and risk losing him in free agency or start rebuilding immediately.

Pritchard opted for a widely panned trade that netted Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

It all turned out just fine for Pritchard and the Pacers.

Oladipo emerged as the leader of this young group, earned his first All-Star trip, won the league’s steals title and eventually figured out how to deal with constant double teams, a familiar treatment for superstars.

Sabonis, a lottery pick in 2016, became a key contributor off the bench. Point guard Darren Collison was the NBA’s most accurate 3-point shooter, and Young and Bojan Bogdanovic thrived in their roles, too.

The key may be the continued development of Myles Turner, Indiana’s 22-year-old center and one of the league’s leaders in blocks. The Pacers need him to get stronger and become a better rebounder.

At times this season, he showed just how dominant he could be.

Now, the Pacers are asking him to stay healthy, become a more consistent scorer and help Oladipo lead this team to greater successes.

“I wouldn’t trade this year or the men in that locker room for anyone. It’s been phenomenal,” Oladipo said after the season. “It’s the best locker room I’ve been a part of. It’s been an honor playing with those men and I look forward to growing with them in the future.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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