With the door to the free-agent market getting kicked wide open Sunday, the Bulls went shopping for toughness and wasted little time finding it.
A team source confirmed that the Bulls reached a three-year, $41 million deal with 6-8 forward Thaddeus Young, 31, grabbing him just minutes after the official start of the craziness that is NBA free agency.
The Pacers — for whom he has played the last three seasons — and Jazz were in on Young, but knowing that Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. will have more growing pains, the Bulls reportedly outbid both.
Young is a proven commodity on both ends of the floor who has a great reputation in the locker room. He should give the Bulls some much-needed depth. He also could play power forward with the starters when Markkanen slides over to center.
Since being drafted 12th overall in 2007, Young has been a model of consistency, especially the last two years, when he played 81 games in each.
For his career, he’s averaging 13.4 points, six rebounds and 30.7 minutes per game. His best season was with the 76ers in 2013-14, when he averaged 17.9 points and stretched the floor with 3.7 three-point attempts per game.
According to a source, the Bulls kicked the tires on bringing back forward Taj Gibson, but the team believes Young is a bit more versatile spacing the floor and has enough ball skills to be a factor in the multi-ballhandler offense coach Jim Boylen eventually leaned on after taking over for Fred Hoiberg in December.
It helped that Boylen was well-versed on Young, thanks to his connections with the Pacers from his days there.
A source said the Bulls still were monitoring the point guard market closely, looking to add a veteran to the mix.