Michael Hickey | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – The ‘decision matrix’ domino of Thaddeus Young still seems to be favoring the side of him returning to the Indiana Pacers.
Nate McMillan spoke to Young earlier this week with an update that indicates the Pacers are looking like they will have their starting power forward back next season.
“He wants to be here,” McMillan said of Young, who will turn 30 years old this month.
“That’s the main thing. Everything else will work out itself.”
McMillan’s update came Thursday night at Victory Field, as the Pacers took part in the 10th annual Caroline Symmes Memorial Celebrity Softball Challenge, with money raised for the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund.
For Young, it is up to him on whether or not he wants to exercise his $13.7 million player option with the Pacers for a 3rd season in Indiana. That decision has to come by the end of June.
Where Young might have a pause in immediately opting in is possibly seeking out more of a multi-year deal at this point of his career.
Young turns 30 years old on June 21, so he could be seeking out a new contract, something along the lines of two or three years, rather than opting into this contract season in 2018-19.
The 10-year veteran was an important glue piece for the Pacers last season.
Team president Kevin Pritchard is hoping that Young returns next season. Young didn’t miss a game due to injury last year, while averaging 11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds over 32.2 minutes per game.
“He’s indicated he loves the organization,” Pritchard said of Young earlier this offseason. “Usually when a guy is in a leadership role and he grows into becoming a real good player who is willing to mentor others, then he’s found a home usually. I hope he’s found a home for the next couple of years. We hope that.”
“I love Thad. He took a huge role for us in leadership and was amazing at that. I have very strong feelings for that. If you took Thad and took just his points and rebounds and all of that, you would say he’s a pretty good player. But then when you are around him and what he did with his leadership this year and made sure we stayed together. He brings an ordinate amount of value.”
One thing Pritchard will not be doing over the final few weeks of June is outwardly trying to recruit Young.
That’s never been Pritchard’s approach when it comes to guys deciding on player options.
“That’s Thad’s choice,” Pritchard says. “I’m always reluctant to give too much in terms of what we want from that player because I don’t want to talk a player into it and then, ‘I do this and I didn’t want to do that.’
“I’ll step back from that. I’ll give a little bit of feedback. At the end of the day, I want Thad to say, ‘This is what I want and it’s because of these reasons.’ And then let it play out. I don’t want to be influencing.”
Veteran guard Cory Joseph has already opted in on his player option for next season.
The Pacers are currently knee deep in NBA Draft prep, with this year’s draft taking place on Thursday, June 21.