Beloved Ex-Bull Stung by Surprise Trade: ‘Caught Me off Guard’

Thaddeus Young, San Antonio Spurs

Getty Former Chicago Bulls fan favorite, Thaddeus Young playing for the San Antonio Spurs.

Alex Caruso has quickly settled into life with the Chicago Bulls and has taken the mantle of fan-favorite in a quarter of a season. Of course, Caruso’s performances have been full of energy, grit, skill, and hustle which have all gone towards the former Los Angeles Lakers guard being the Bulls undisputed 6th man.

Chicago fans are a loyal bunch; when they can see you’re putting in a shift every night and fighting for the good of the franchise, they’ll have your back to the very end. Yet, before Caruso was wowing fans with his all-action brand of basketball, there was another player who fans adored.

Thaddeus Young spent the previous two seasons with the Bulls, wowing fans with his interior game and willingness to sacrifice for the team. However, after the Bulls 2020-21 season ended, the franchise traded Young to the San Antonio Spurs as part of a package that saw DeMar DeRozan head for Chicago.

Young averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists over 132 games for the Bulls, starting 39 of them, and had shooting splits of 34.1% from deep, 50.6% from the field, and 61.1% from the charity stripe, per Basketball-Reference.

Young Was Caught off Guard by Trade

On a recent episode of The Alex Kennedy podcast, Young spoke of his surprise at being traded from a franchise that he felt at home with. During the podcast episode, Young notes how finding out about his trade via social media was the most challenging part of saying goodbye to the city he had called home for the previous two years.

“The only thing I had wished was that I had [gotten] the heads-up before [finding out on] social [media],” Young told Kennedy when discussing his trade.

In a further revelation, Young noted how he was led to believe he would be returning for a third season in Chicago. He told Kennedy that every one his agent had spoken to was telling them he would be there for the start of the season. “Definitely caught me off guard for the simple fact [that]… my agent had just talked to everyone in Chicago, and we were being told that I was coming back,” Young said.

From the Bulls’ standpoint, they were building out a roster capable of challenging for the Eastern Conference title in the coming season, and a deal to acquire DeRozan was too good an opportunity to pass up. Yet, for Young, not being looped into that decision is what stung.

Young Is Struggling for Minutes in San Antonio

Despite starting 16 games for the San Antonio Spurs this season, Young is struggling for the level of playing he’s usually accustomed to. Over his two seasons in Chicago, the veteran forward averaged 24.6 minutes a night.

Now, playing for the Spurs under head coach Greg Popovich, Young is playing almost 10 minutes a night less, with his current minutes average sitting at 15.6 per contest. “So far this season, I haven’t really played as much as I’ve played in the past, but with the time I have been given, I’ve been productive,” Young told Kennedy when discussing his new role for the Spurs.

The Spurs are currently on the precipice of a rebuild. Still, they have yet to pull the trigger on moving some of their older roster members, likely due to the franchise wanting to remain somewhat competitive in Popovich’s final years as coach. Young, who is 33-years-old and in his 16th year in the league, is likely to see out the last year of his $14.1 million deal with the Spurs before hitting what will likely be one of his final free agencies during the summer.

When asked about his future in the NBA, Young was clear that he will continue to play as long as he’s getting minutes on the court, “For me, it’s just a matter of just getting minutes,” Young said.

The upcoming free-agent class isn’t teeming with top-tier talent, meaning the veteran out of Louisiana will likely find himself another contract next season. Still, after being traded out of the blue by Chicago, it’s unlikely we will see Young make a return to the franchise in the not-so-distant future.




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