Perhaps the Chicago Bulls can go back to take a step forward. No, not with their progress on the floor or as an organization. But with a roster move that caught one of the key pieces involved “off guard”.
While that brought DeMar DeRozan to Chicago, it sent a very popular player in Young to San Antonio and, later, to the Toronto Raptors.
Now, the calls to bring Young back to Chicago have returned with an assist from Chicago Sun-Times’ Bulls beat writer, Joe Cowley. In his breakdown of the forward position, Cowley calls Young a “wild card” for the Bulls this offseason.
The Thadgic Man
Cowley’s piece covered a wide range of sub-topics in the breakdown, including the talented-but-inconsistent Patrick Williams, before getting to Young whom he says should be on the Bulls’ short-list.
A tough-minded veteran who will guard and offer leadership off the bench, and would do so at a discount? Not an easy get. Thaddeus Young has to be on speed dial to see if he wants to return for some unfinished business
Young said that the trade bothered him after being told he would remain with the team. But he also said he understood that it is a part of the business of sports in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson in January.
“Of course, it does bother you when you just talk to your agent and your agent was telling you that you’re going to be there and you’re going to be able to potentially win…I’m not mad about it or anything like that. Honestly, it’s not really about the whole trade…It’s part of the business. I’ve been traded before.”
He added that he wished he had learned directly instead of via social media. But did note that Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley did reach out to him in the aftermath and called the “transparent people”.
If Young’s sentiments towards Karnisovas and Eversley are any indication of how he feels towards Chicago, then Cowley’s premise is not at all off-base. It was one that Bulls.com writer Sam Smith touched on in his May 13 Ask Sam mailbag.
We already have gotten some context clues that some believe point to Young leaving Toronto.
Aaron Rose of Sports Illustrated’s All Raptors writes Young’s exit interview could point to a stateside return next season.
From the moment the 33-year-old began speaking Friday morning following his exit interviews with the team, the praise began. He spoke glowingly about his time in Toronto…Now, with unrestricted free agency on the horizon, Young’s time in Toronto feels like it’s coming to an end.
Young saw a drop in playing time last season. First, he averaged just 6.1 points in 14.2 minutes for the Spurs — both career-lows.
He did see an increase when he went to the Raptors. But it amounted to 6.2 points in 18.3 minutes. That is still nearly half the points on six fewer minutes per game than he saw with the Bulls.
The 15-year veteran said that his family will play a major role in his decision, noting that he and his wife want to put their kids into school after two years of homeschooling.
Back to Bulls?
Rose also noted Young’s positive impact on the Raptors’ younger players, a role he told Johnson that he relished with the Bulls.
“Just the moments that I had with my teammates. Those are all great guys. We all know I love Zach (LaVine) to death. And he feels the same way. Getting a chance to help groom Pat (Williams) and Coby (White) a little bit.”
Not restricting his affinity to just one group, Young also said he enjoyed his time with the staff and city. The most telling part that may make a return to Chicago possible, though, was his take on the Bulls’ moves made while he was still here.
“The moves to acquire Vooch (Nikola Vučević) and (Daniel) Theis, those were necessary things that had to be done to try to make the team better. If I took a bump in minutes or a bump in my role, I was fine with that as long as we were on pace to try to win games.”
That acceptance of his role, the relationships with the players, as well as a chance to make a real impact on a team that was in first place in the Eastern Conference in February could be enough to lure Young back.